Updated at 7:20 p.m. EDT, Aug. 4, 2008
At least 21 Iraqis were killed and another 26 were wounded during a politically eventful day in Iraq. Two U.S. servicemembers were killed as well. Despite another postponement, a vote on the provincial elections may be imminent. Meanwhile, some Palestinian refugees will be allowed to leave the country. Also, a British newspaper is reporting that a secret deal between British forces and the Mahdi Army has kept troops out of Basra. And, the Government Accountability Office said that oil revenues in Iraq have increased dramatically, but the U.S. taxpayer is still shouldering the burden of reconstruction.
A female soldier was killed during a vehicular accident in Baiji. A second soldier was killed in a separate vehicular accident, this one in Abd Allah. Both accidents occurred on Aug. 2 and were not related to any combat operations.
The Times newspaper reported that the British military reached a secret deal with the Mahdi Army. The deal apparently took troops out of lawless Basra last September. British authorities denied the claim; however, the deal could explain why British troops removed themselves from the city and why they did not join Iraqi and U.S. troops during a large-scale operation in March. The Mahdi Army is the armed wing of a movement led by Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. In other news, al-Sadr plans to turn the Mahdi Army into a social organization.
The Iraqi parliament postponed a decision on provincial elections for the third time in as many days. The passage of the law would allow elections to take place later in the year or early the next. On a positive note, the Kurdish lawmakers who opposed the law warmed up to a U.N-backed plan that would postpone elections in Kirkuk while allowing other provinces to move forward with their plans. Among the issues is a power-sharing plan and replacement of Peshmerga troops in Kirkuk.
In Baghdad, a body was found in Saidiya. Aroadside bomb on Palestine St. wounded six people, including policemen. Two civilians were injured in a blast in Bab al-Muadham. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and 10 more were wounded during security operations; one gunman was also killed. Also, heavy arms were seized in Sadr City.
Gunmen ambushed a convoy belonging to Sheikh Ibrahim al-Karbouli in Yusufiya, killing him and six bodyguards. The Sheikh was the leader of a U.S.-backed Awakening Council.
In Mosul, a suicide bomber injured a U.S. soldier and a civilian. A civilian and his 11-year-old child were injured in a drive-by shooting. A child’s body was found yesterday evening. A body belonging to a young man was discovered today.
Gunmen killed three members of an Awakening Council at their Kirkuk checkpoint.
A body bearing gunshot wounds was found in Hilla.
In Basra, gunmen shot and killed a barber. Barbers have often been the targets of fundamentalists who believe that the occupation flouts religious teachings. Also, a roadside bomb killed three civilians south of the city.
Yesterday, a bomb on a minibus in Karbala wounded four people.
Near the international border in Arbil province, an Iraqi civilian was injured during a Katyusha rocket attack launched by Iranian forces. According to reports, about 120 rockets fell on Iraqi territory. Iran has previously launched artillery attacks on Kurdish rebel targets across the international border. Like Turkey, Iran has been fighting Kurdish separatists who want self-rule in an autonomous Kurdistan.
No casualties were reported after a bomb targeting a motorcade carrying the commander of the Tuz Khormato medical corps was detonated.
The governor of Wassit province has closed the border to Diyala province in order to prevent gunmen from fleeing Diyala during security operations there.
Iraqi forces killed two suspects and detained 99 across Iraq.
U.S. forces captured 15 suspects in northern and central Iraq.
A number of Palestinian refugees trapped at the Syrian-Iraqi border will be moved to either Iceland or Sweden. The refugees attempted to flee to Syria after the war began, but Syria refused to take in more than a handful. About 2300 of them have been stuck living in camps at the border.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis