Updated at 6:55 p.m. EST, Dec. 17, 2008
At least 35 Iraqis were killed and 70 more were wounded during a bloody day that also saw a visit from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. No Coalition deaths were reported. At the same time, the health of the journalist shoe-lobber remains in question as his brother presses for more information. Meanwhile, the U.S. state department has warned its personnel to be ready should Blackwater Worldwide no longer be allowed to provide security for them in Iraq. The company is under investigation for the deaths of 17 civilians in Baghdad last year.
British Prime Minister Gordon visited Iraq a day after the Iraqi cabinet drafted a law that will guide the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. Operations for the U.K. will end in May and withdrawal is set for July.
The brother of the Iraq journalist who lobbed shoes at U.S. President Bush confirmed that a judge saw Muntadhar al-Zeidi yesterday. The appearance, which took place in al-Zeidi’s jail cell, added to speculation that he was severely beaten while in custody. Meanwhile, an Iraqi lawmaker has threatened to resign from parliament after heated debate over the incident.
In Baghdad, a combined car and roadside bomb attack left 18 dead and 53 wounded in al-Nahda; the bombs apparently targeted traffic police and spectators drawn to the first blast. A bomb at a checkpoint killed two civilians and wounded four policemen. U.S. forces raided a government office in Utifiyah, killing four security guards. An Iraqi soldier was killed and four others were wounded during operations that netted 16 suspects and five bombs. Last night a bomb in Suleikh killed a 13-year-old and wounded three others.
In Mosul, a roadside bomb killed two people and wounded four others in a southeastern neighborhood. In Thawra, a sticky bomb killed two people. Another roadside bomb killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded a civilian.
Gunmen injured a man north of Kirkuk last night. Also, another man was kidnapped in a separate incident within the city.
Coalition forces killed three suspects and detained 14 others across central and northern Iraq.
A suicide bomber killed himself during an incident with Iraqi soldiers in Abu Ghraib. No other casualties were reported.
Iraqi authorities continue to search potential gravesites in Albu Toma. So far, 87 bodies have been recovered over the last few weeks.
Near Hilla, a cache containing rockets, ammunition and explosives was discovered.
Eighteen wanted suspects were captured in Basra.
Iraqi officials want to reshuffle security personnel into a specialized force that will protect the power infrastructure throughout the country. About 13,000 of the guards, who currently work within the Electrical Ministry, will soon join the Interior Ministry, which oversees the National Police. Eventually they will be combined with a specialized Oil Police.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis