Updated at 6:53 p.m. EDT, March 8, 2009
At least 61 Iraqis were killed and 84 more were wounded across the country. While a suicide bombing in Baghdad was the most significant incident of the day, a mass grave gave up almost as many dead in Khalis. Meanwhile, 12,000 U.S. servicemembers will be receiving orders to leave Iraq by September. Also, the family of a U.S.-veteran turned security contractor said that a sniper killed him in Baghdad on Wednesday.
Maj. Gen. David Perkins announced that 12,000 U.S. and 4,000 British servicemembers will be leaving Iraq by September. There was no mention whether the troops will be sent home or transferred to Afghanistan. The U.S. and Iraq agreed to the removal of most troops from Iraqi cities by June of this year and entirely by 2011; however, President Obama has promised a surge in troops for Afghanistan.
In Baghdad, 32 people were killed during a suicide bombing at a police academy on Palestine Street. About 60 more were wounded. Dozens of men hoping to join the police service regularly gather in front of such academies, making them easy targets for bombers. Over in Ghazaliya, a roadside bomb wounded three members of a local Awakening Council. A third bomb, in Allawi, wounded two civilians. Also, a man was kidnapped in the Sadr City suburb.
Twenty-five bodies were recovered from eight separate graves in al-Bu Tima. A number of mass graves have been found in the Khalis district over the last several months. Many date to the height of the sectarian violence, when authorities believe al-Qaeda groups ran their own courts in the area.
In Mosul, one car bomb killed three Iraqi soldiers and wounded three more. A second car bomb injured seven people. Gunmen wounded two Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint. A grenade blast wounded two people. Also, gunmen killed a student.
A bomb blast in Muqdadiyah wounded four people.
In Basra province, 81 suspects were detained.
Twelve suspects were detained in Dhi Qar.
Thirteen rockets were seized in Missan province.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis