Updated at 7:07 p.m. EST, March 16, 2009
At least 11 Iraqis were killed and 7 more were wounded during the latest attacks. One of the dead was a 12-year-old girl who was shot by U.S. troops in Mosul. One U.S. soldier was killed during combat in Baghdad. Also, Iraqi troops beat an unknown number of people at Camp Ashraf, and the MNF admitted shooting down an Iranian drone aircraft that ventured into Iraqi airspace. Meanwhile, Vice President Talabani stifled hopes for an independent Kurdish state.
Iraqi Vice President Jalal Talabani is in Turkey for a conference. While there, Talabani, who is a Kurd, said that an independent Kurdish state was impossible. Turkey has been at war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for the last two decades but has mistreated its own Kurd population, at times denying their existence, for decades.
Iraqi authorities reported that Coalition forces shot down an unmanned Iranian drone aircraft they believe mistakenly ventured into Iraqi airspace. The exact date was not released, but the incident likely took place in February. U.S. authorities believe that the craft was intentionally sent into Iraqi airspace. Iran and Iraq are now on relatively friendly terms, but the Iranians occasionally launch artillery attacks at suspected Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) rebel locations in the northeast part of the country.
Iraqi troops escalated their harassment of Iranian refugees at Camp Ashraf. The Interior Ministry admitted that troops beat some of the residents, while the residents claimed the soldiers used electric batons during the beatings. Some of the refugees belong to the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) and fled that country when Saddam Hussein opened the doors to them. Iraq, Iran and the U.S. view the group as terrorists. Iraq would like them to leave, but the group cannot return home for fear of torture and execution. No third country has been willing to accept them either.
In Mosul, U.S. forces admitted accidentally killing a 12-year-old girl, but there are conflicting stories to the exact circumstances. Gunmen killed an Iraqi soldier during clashes last night. Also last night, a sticky bomb blast injured a civilian. Also, an Iraqi security official was wounded during a raid yesterday; the death of a woman in the same incident was already reported.
Five dumped and decomposing bodies were discovered at a cemetery in Mukhifa.
A spectator killed an Iraqi soccer player during the last minute of play at a game in Hilla. Allegedly a fan of the rival team, the spectator shot the player as he was about to kick a game-tying goal. A conflicting report stated that a guard accidentally killed the player during celebratory gunfire. The shooter was arrested. Separately, a suspect who may have killed as many as 70 people was detained.
Gunmen tossed a grenade inside a doctor’s car, killing him, in Kirkuk. One security guard was killed and another was wounded at a telecom company. One policeman was wounded during a roadside bomb blast. An oil pipeline blew up west of Kirkuk, but authorities believe it was accidental.
A body was found in Aziziya.
In Basra, security personnel from several southern provinces attended a conference. The goal of the conference was to coordinate security operations among the southern provinces. This could be part of a greater effort to bring together the southern provinces into one political entity that would operate semi-autonomously. Meanwhile, 103 suspects were arrested across the province.
Five tons of explosives were discovered in Iskandariya.
Five suspects were detained in Rashad.
U.S. forces handed 29 detainees over to police in Anbar. The group were cleared of all charges and now await release from Iraqi custody when the again prove their innocence.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis