Updated at 7:10 p.m. EDT, Aug. 28, 2008
Two U.S. soldiers died in separate events today. At least seven Iraqis were killed and 14 more were wounded as well.Controversy continues to rage over security forces in Kurdish regions of Diyala province. Elsewhere, Shi’ite cleric al-Sadr has extended a ceasefire. Meanwhile, U.S. forces detained a senior Iraqi official. Also, the head of the U.S.-Iraqi security pact negotiating team was replaced.
The president of the Kurdish Autonomous region, Masoud Barazani, expressed his surprise at the emplacement of Iraqi troops in the Khanaqin area. Although south of the official region and in Diyala province, Khanaqin is heavily Kurdish and was under the protection of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters until Iraqi troops forcibly took over in recent days. Iraqi troops backed off briefly but are again in the process of taking over security operations. The mayor of Khanaqin had already denounced the action as politically motivated. Later in the day, Barazani spoke with Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi over the emplacement.
Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has now indefinitely extended a cease-fire credited with dramatically reducing violence in Iraq. The unilateral cease-fire was first imposed last summer and previously renewed on a six-month basis. Iraqi forces tested the cease-fire last March during a failed operation in Basra that engulfed southern Iraq and Baghdad in renewed violence. Clashes ended only after the Iraqi government was forced to work out a truce with al-Sadr’s Mahdi army. Al-Sadr has now mostly dissolved this armed wing, but is retaining an unknown number of fighters.
According to a political ally, the head of the Supreme National Commission for de-Ba’athification was detained by U.S. forces when he returned from an overseas trip. The Shi’ite official is charged with leading an Iranian-backed militia that detonated a bomb in a Sadr City district council meeting last June. The explosion killed four Americans as well as Iraqis. U.S. forces admitted holding a senior official but declined to name him.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki replaced the head of a team negotiating a security agreement with the United States. There already is a draft agreement waiting to be approved and ratified by the Iraqi government. U.S. officials, however, say no deal has been reached.
In Baghdad, gunmen killed an army colonel and his spouse in Adil. In Baladiyat, mortars injured two people. A roadside bomb wounded five people in an eastern neighborhood. In Karrada, a roadside bomb wounded two policemen. Mortars struck the Green Zone without leaving casualties. Roadside bombs in Mashtal failed to harm anyone. Also, two dumped bodies were discovered.
In Mosul, gunmen killed an off-duty policeman at his Mishahda home.
One person was killed and another seven were wounded during a roadside bombing near a popular market in Kirkuk.
A shepherd was killed in a roadside bomb blast in Balad Ruz.
In Qara Taba, four people were kidnapped.
Morgue officials in Baquba buried 50 unclaimed bodies. The bodies had been recovered in separate locations. Some or all of these victims may have been previously reported.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis