Updated at 12:50 p.m. EDT, July 19, 2008
Although Friday is usually quiet because it is the prayer day, some significant news items were reported. Two U.S. servicemember deaths were announced. At least five Iraqis were killed and 19 more were wounded as well. Also, the Pentagon acknowledged that shoddy contractor work at military bases endangers servicemembers. Meanwhile, President Bush has agreed to set a "general time horizon" on U.S. troop reductions but was vague on how long withdrawal could actually take.
In Mosul, a suicide bomber detonated his cargo in the Talkeef district, killing four Iraqi soldiers and wounding seven more. Gunmen attacked a checkpoint near town, killing one policeman and wounding three others. Also, nine wanted men were captured.
North of Basra in al-Latif, a joint MNF-Iraqi force will “track down extremists.” Currently, the Multi-National Force has British troops stationed in Basra.
In Baghdad, three civilians were wounded during a bomb blast targeting U.S. troops in Habibiya. U.S. forces captured five of what it calls “special groups militants” during an operation in Adhamiya. U.S. officials believe these groups to be backed by Iran, an accusation the Iranians deny.
Iraqi forces deployed troops across Sadr City ahead of Friday prayers. Weeks of battles following a misguided security operation headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ended after a cease fire declaration was accepted by both sides. Al-Maliki has frequently tested the truce, but al-Sadr’s followers continue to uphold their end of the deal. They accuse al-Maliki of attempting to undermine their political base ahead of October elections. Al-Sadr instituted a unilateral cease-fire last summer.
Ten followers of Imam al-Rabani were detained in Khalis.
The transfer of security responsibilities in Anbar province remains stalled weeks after a bombing postponed the handover.
An al-Qaeda suspect wearing women’s clothing was captured in Samarra.
Four oil workers were wounded during an explosion in Tuz Khormato.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis