Updated at 6:50 p.m. EDT, July 31, 2008
At least 20 Iraqis were killed and 21 more were wounded in the latest violence. Among the dead are a Samarra family who were unarmed at the time U.S. troops attacked them in their home. Two U.S. servicemembers were killed in separate events. Meanwhile, President Bush said that reduced violence may mean that U.S. troops can leave Iraq earlier, but he also warned that progress could easily reverse itself.
An American soldier died after being taken off life-support in Bethesda, Maryland; he had been injured July 22 during a roadside bombing in Taji. Another soldier died on non-combat causes in northern Iraq today.
During an operation in Samarra, U.S. troops killed a woman and her two sons during a raid on their home; her daughter was also injured. The entire family was unarmed, but the military insisted that gunshots had come from the area. They also arrested an admitted explosives expert in the area. These are only the latest careless deaths caused by troopmembers in recent weeks. Separately, a roadside bomb targeting an Awakening Council (Sahwa) patrol killed three members and wounded two more .
The U.S. military detained an Iraqi photojournalist when he arrived at the Green Zone to apply for a U.S. military press card. This is the third time the man, who also works for British Broadcasting Corp. and National Public Radio, has been held by authorities. Under the U.N. mandate, U.S. forces are allowed to detain anyone who may pose a threat to security, but several journalists have been held for long periods under such circumstances without ever being charged with a crime. Reuters is asking the military to quickly provide evidence relating to the detention.
Kurdish members of the Kirkuk provincial council called for the area to join the Kurdistan Autonomous Region. Kurds consider the city of Kirkuk to be the ancient capital of Kurdistan; however, the region is also home to Turkmen, Arabs and other minority groups who wish to remain under the authority of the central government. Also, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Stefan de Mistura, has suggested postponing elections in Kirkuk. Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he opposes the joining of Kirkuk with Kurdistan. Turkey is caught up with its own Kurdish separatists who have launched violent attacks on Turkey from their border area hideouts.
Residents of Duhuk staged a protest against the provincial elections law that would not only allow elections to take place, but also create a power sharing scheme between multi-ethnic groups in northern Iraq. They sent a letter to parliament. This is the same law that has increased ethnic tensions in the city of Kirkuk.
In Mosul, a judge and bodyguard injured yesterday have since died. The bodies of two women who were shot in the head were found in Mithaq. Elsewhere, another woman was found beheaded and left with a knife stuck in her. An off-duty Iraqi soldier was killed yesterday. Mortars struck buildings housing two separate television stations, but no casualties were reported. Also, a car bomb was safely defused.
Near Mosul in Shaheed, a suicide bomber killed three policemen and wounded four when he crashed into the wall of a police station.
Nine people were injured when a pair of coordinated car bombs were detonated in Kukjli, which is to the east of Mosul.
In Baghdad, three people were wounded during a bombing. Security forces arrested a man in connection with a blast at an M.P.’s home. Another five men were detained elsewhere. Also, three dumped bodies were found.
Two soldiers were wounded during a roadside bomb attack in Madaen.
Clashes between gunmen and Sahwa members of an in al-Waib, left one Sahwa member dead.
A roadside bomb killed a policeman in Tal Afar.
Iraqi security forces raided an al-Sadr office in Kut and arrested a security guard. Elsewhere, a suspect was arrested and weapons were confiscated. Three Sahwa members were detained at their offices as well.
Near Baquba, twelve policemen were arrested for collaborating with the enemy.
Four suspects were detained in Karbala.
A curfew in Diyala province has been lifted. At least 189 suspects were arrested during a security operation designed to rid the violent province of gunmen. One captured suspect is thought to be a “media expert” for al-Qaeda.
U.S. forces captured five al-Qaeda suspects in northern and central Iraq.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis