Reports of violence were scant today, possibly because Hajj observances begin tomorrow in Mecca. Only two Iraqis were killed and one more was wounded. Also, gunmen, reportedly using a thermal bomb, killed a U.S. soldier in Kirkuk yesterday. He is the first servicemember to die in combat since President Obama, on Oct. 21, said the White House had given up on negotiations to keep troops in Iraq past a Dec. 31 deadline. Another attack on U.S. troops today left no casualties.
On the eve of World Water Day, UNICEF reported that Iraq loses about half its water to seepage, leakage, and wastage. Not only is there an obvious human cost to the loss, but the lack of an adequate water supply increases tensions with neighboring countries. Meanwhile, at least 11 Iraqis were killed and 15 others were wounded in violence across the country. A roadside bomb attack also left one American soldier dead in southern Iraq.