Updated at 8:55 p.m. EST, Nov. 16, 2008
The Iraqi Cabinet approved a U.S-Iraqi security agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq and forwarded it to Parliament for their approval. Meanwhile, at least 37 Iraqis were killed and 30 more were wounded in today’s attacks. No Coalition deaths were reported, but the U.S. notified South Korea that it will redeploy a helicopter battalion stationed there to Iraq and Afghanistan sometime next year.
The latest draft of a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement was approved by the Iraqi Cabinet today. It now heads to Parliament for approval. The agreement took several months to hammer out and will allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after December, when the U.N. mandate runs out. Although chances are high that the agreement will pass, there remain difficult political hurdles in its way.
Among issues that had stalled the agreement were a withdrawal timetable and jurisdiction for U.S. troops accused of crimes. In the final weeks of negotiations, a U.S. raid on Syria led to new Iraqi demands prohibiting the launch of operations on neighboring countries from within their borders.
A suicide car bomber killed 15 people and wounded 20 others in Jalawla. Seven policemen were among the dead. Jalawla is in a heavily Kurdish and disputed area just outside the Kurdish Autonomous Region. In recent months, the central government sent in Iraqi troops to take over security from local groups, including Kurdish peshmerga. This has led to increased tensions in a volatile province that also has to deal with al-Qaeda gunmen.
Separate blasts left one policeman dead and one civilian wounded in Mosul.
In Hilla, a bomb outside the home killed a policeman.
Police commandos killed one gunman in Khalis.
Two al-Qaeda suspects were picked up in Kanaan.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis