Updated at 8:02 p.m. EST, Jan. 26, 2009
Four U.S. troops were killed this morning in a helicopter crash. Meanwhile, at least four Iraqis were killed and another 25 were wounded in today’s attacks.
Priming the voters at an election rally, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told his audience that he believes U.S. forces will be out of Iraq much sooner than the three year time limit agreed to in a security pact. Meanwhile, Iraq is taking extreme measures to protect voters during Saturday’s elections. The borders will be shut, airports will be closed, and a vehicle ban will be in place. Also, tens of thousands of internally displaced Iraqis have applied to vote by absentee ballot, but millions more displaced will likely skip the election altogether.
Two U.S. helicopters crashed early this morning near Kirkuk, killing four U.S. servicemembers. There are no indications that the double crash was related to enemy fire.
In Baghdad, a bomb wounded 11 policemen in Mansour. Also, the Interior Ministry graduated 490 policewomen who will begin their careers by maintaining security during the elections.
A bicycle bomb exploded near the offices of the Sunni Arab Islamic Party in Baquba. Five civilians were injured. The bomber was shot dead as he tried to flee the scene. At least one other wounded person was reported in what may be the same incident.
In Mosul, a decapitated body was discovered. In the Dawasa area, six people were injured during a bombing and another was killed. Three people were injured in a bomb blast on Halab Street. An election commission employee was shot dead even as security personnel laid out barricades and implemented other measures to prevent violence.
A suspected al-Qaeda emir was captured near Hawija in Tal al-Zaban.
A woman was liberated and her kidnapper was captured in Nasariya.
Karbala implemented an election security plan. Meanwhile, an ammunition cache was discovered in the area.
In Kirkuk, 15 suspects were detained in the city. Police safely detonated a bomb and no casualties were reported.
Two wanted men were detained in Kut.
Three suspects were detained across Basra.
A total of 87 suspects have been picked up across Diyala province.
Former Iraqi officials Tareq Aziz and Chemical Ali will face yet another trial for crimes that occurred during the Saddam Hussein era.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis