Updated at 12:40 p.m. EST, Nov. 18, 2006
Fridays are relatively calm in Iraq. It is the day of prayer, and curfews limiting driving activity tamp down on the amount of car and roadside bomb attacks. However, at least 59 Iraqis were killed or found dead today and five were injured. In southern Iraq, yesterday’s kidnapping of security contractors resulted in the deaths of two foreigners and six Iraqis. At least one American was also injured. Thirty-seven dumped bodies were found, at least 20 of those were in Baghdad.
A security contractor, possibly Austrian, was killed and an American was wounded, after their convoy stumbled into a phony police checkpoint near Safwan yesterday. Reports are still sketchy, but at least four others were killed in a subsequent gunfight. Early reports last night stated that four American contractors had been kidnapped in the incident, two were later freed. Nine contractors of other nationalities were released.
In one possibly related incident, British forces conducting a raid in Safwan killed two gunmen. In a second incident, a British security guard was killed and a colleague injured when gunmen drove past them at a checkpoint in Zubayr. The pair had crossed the border illegally in search of the missing contractors. Two female bystanders and two policemen were also killed in the battle.
In the capital, 20 bodies were recovered from several neighborhoods. In central Baghdad, robbers shot dead four Iraqi policemen during a bank heist that netted them 1.6 billion Iraqi dinars ($1.1 million). And in the northwest Hurriya district, two brothers were gunned down.
Two bodies bearing gunshot and torture marks were discovered in Fallujah.
Gunmen in Kirkuk shot dead a civilian and wounded his baby daughter. Two more people were killed and another four wounded in a separate drive-by. The tomb of religious leader Ahmad Thiyab Al-Nuaimi was blown up in southern Kirkuk; events like these in the past have sparked increased sectarian violence.
Lieutenant Colonel Sattar Jabar, who was the chief police spokesman in Baquba, was shot dead.
In Numaniya, police recovered two bodies from the Malih River.
A policewoman and her daughter were killed in Mosul.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis