At least 65 Iraqis were killed and 48 more were injured in the latest violence. More fighting took place overnight in Sadr City, and a news mass grave was found in Mahmudiya. Also, an IED killed an American soldier northwest of Baghdad today.
In Sadr City, the U.S. military reported killed 13 gunmen in overnight clashes. Police and hospital officials added seven civilians, who were killed in a Hellfire missile attack, to that tally. As many as 33 people were treated for injuries at local hospitals as well. Meanwhile, officials from the al-Sadr organization told Mahdi army members in Sadr City to avoid fighting U.S or Iraqi forces as the conflict is turning into a war of attrition. A blockade, which is scheduled to end today, has trapped many citizens within the slum, as food and water supplies run out and garbage piles up.
At least 289 more people have died so far and 1,448 were wounded since March 25, when battles erupted in this large section of Baghdad. The clashes began after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki targeted followers of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr under the guise of a security crackdown. Although al-Sadr imposed a cease-fire on his followers last summer, they are allowed to protect themselves from attacks. The crackdown was an embarrassing failure for al-Maliki, who was hoping to use it to thwart Sadrist chances in upcoming elections.
In Baghdad proper, a roadside bomb in the Hay Ur neighborhood killed an Iraqi policeman and wounded five others. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and six more were wounded during security operations in which 15 gunmen were killed, another 15 were detained, and eight dumped bodies were recovered across Baghdad.
Fourteen dumped bodies were discovered in two separate locations near Mahmudiya. A mass grave containing at least 30 bodies was found in the area a few days ago.
In Mosul, the corpses of three bodyguards working for the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP) were found. A roadside bomb killed an Iraqi soldier west of town. Also, a 12-year-old was arrested for attempting to plant a bomb.
An Awakening Council (Sahwa) member was killed and two more were wounded as they were defusing a roadside bomb in Buhriz.
A roadside bomb near Kirkuk wounded a soldier and a Sahwa member.
In Basra, Iraqi security forces conducted raids in the Qibla district, but no fighting was reported.
Eight displaced families returned home to Madaen.
Fifteen suspects were detained in Karbala.
In Rutba, a senior al-Qaeda member was detained.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis
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