Updated at 8:15 p.m. EST, Feb. 22, 2009
At least seven Iraqis were killed and another 17 were wounded in the latest violence. Meanwhile, security forces are on the lookout for an Iraqi lawmaker accused of terrorist activities, while joint U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a new military operation in Ninewa province. No Coalition deaths were reported.
An arrest warrant was issued for a Sunni lawmaker after his nephew and another bodyguard confessed to crimes during an interrogation where they also implicated the lawmaker. The lawmaker denied the charges, which include supporting a suicide bombing in parliament itself and ordering the burial of at least one hundred people alive. Mohammed al-Daini claims he has been targeted previously for his opinions, so this could be a case of simple harassment.
In Ninewa province, combined U.S. and Iraqi forces hope the latest security operation will finally clear out violent elements believed to be part of the al-Qaeda network. Previous operations have failed to relieve Mosul and it remains the most violent large city in Iraq. Recently, 100 more Christian families have returned to the city after fleeing targeted attacks last fall, and last month, Pope Benedict XVI received the priestly vestments of two Christian leaders killed in Mosul during an emotional ceremony at the Vatican. Unfortunately, the recent elections could re-ignite the conflict between Kurds and Arabs in the province.
In Mosul, a roadside in a western neighborhood left two Iraqis soldiers dead and three more wounded. A roadside bomb wounded five soldiers southern Mosul. Gunmen threw a hand grenade at a police patrol but wounded a civilian woman instead. Also, two suspects were captured.
Five Iraq soldiers were killed when they entered a booby-trapped building in Baaj.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb wounded four people in the Bayaa neighborhood.
A bomb attached to a car wounded a neighborhood guard in Samarra.
A bomb in Tikrit wounded an Iraqi Islamic Party leader and his driver.
Five suspects were arrested across Basra.
Four suspects were detained in Dhi Qar.
A bomber’s vest was seized at a home in Abu Seif.
Eight suspects were arrested in Saidiya.
In Kirkuk, two suspects were detained. Police found and defused a homemade Katyusha rocket.
Karbala police are implementing a security plan for Najaf-bound pilgrims celebrating the Prophet Muhammad’s birth.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis