Updated at 5:57 p.m. EST, Jan. 24, 2009
At least 12 Iraqis were killed and 33 more were wounded in the latest attacks. A U.S. soldier was killed in a non-combat incident in southern Iraq today, while another U.S. soldier died of non-combat related injuries in Balad. Meanwhile, poor and sick Iraqis in Basra took advantage of what began as a pro-Maliki rally to lodge their complaints with the prime minister.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki held a rally in Basra yesterday to promote his vision of a strong central government for Iraq. What at first was believed to be “2,000 cheering supporters,” at closer inspection, turned out to be hundreds of desperate Iraqis who instead were demanding immediate help from the prime minister. Recently, a bid to allow Basra some autonomy was set aside by election officials, and security forces are now being deployed there ahead of provincial elections. Civil war nearly broke out in Basra last year when the prime minister sent troops to rid the city of militiamen loyal to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Notorious Abu Ghraib prison, where Saddam Hussein’s henchmen and later U.S. troops tortured Iraqi inmates, will reopen next month. It has been renamed Baghdad Central Prison and could house thousands of Iraqis who have been in U.S. custody but most now be handed over to Iraq. Some of these detainees have recently expressed fear that their new jailers will torture them.
U.S. forces raided a home in Hawija where they killed a couple and wounded their eight-year-old daughter. The man had been an army officer during the Saddam Hussein regime, but there was otherwise no hint as to why the troops raided the home. A 14-year-old vowed to avenge his father’s death.
At least five policemen were killed and 14 others were wounded, including nine civilians, during a truck bombing in Garma.
Gunmen attacked an Awakening Council checkpoint in Jurf al-Sakhar, where they killed two members and wounded two others.
A roadside bomb blast targeting a police patrol in Khalidiya instead wounded a civilian.
In Baquba, a roadside bomb wounded three policemen and a civilian.
Gunmen in Saidiya set fire to three trucks. One truck driver was killed and two others are missing.
In Mosul, a bomb blast killed one person and wounded two others.
A roadside bomb injured three civilians in Mandali.
A suspect was detained in Qahira.
In Baghdad, a bomb blast killed a policeman and wounded two civilians in the Doura district. A person was wounded during a bombing on Palestine Street. Gunmen tossed a grenaded and wounded three people in Adhamiyah. Also, a man suspected of being “the blind leader” of al-Qaeda in Iraq was detained.
Five wanted suspects and two Iranians were picked-up in Basra.
Gunmen stormed the home of a political candidate in Hilla. No casualties were reported.
No casualties were reported after Camp Echo, near Diwaniya, was struck by rocket fire.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis