Updated at 3:45 p.m. EDT, May 5, 2009
At least 37 people were killed in the latest incidents. Thirty-three of those were suspected militants killed during raids. An unknown number of villagers in Iraqi Kurdistan were wounded along with five Iraqis elsewhere. Meanwhile, the U.N. announced a change in the treatment of refugees from southern and western Iraq thanks to improved conditions. Also, three South Korean soldiers were convicted of seeking bribes while stationed in Iraq. And, Iraqi Kurdistan announced regional elections will take place on July 25.
The latest artillery attack of Party For a Free Life Kurdistan (PJAK) bases has left an unknown number of wounded villagers in northern Iraq. The PJAK are an offshoot of the better-known Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and are likely responsible for a recent deadly attack in Iran. Iraq summoned the Iranian ambassador to discuss the issue and wants the Iranians to end the shelling immediately.
Iraqi security forces killed 31 suspects during raids yesterday in Diyala province. The raids are part of the latest security operation. Overall, the total number of suspects killed during the operation was not released, but a spokesman said that over 60 suspects were detained. Last year, a similar operation netted hundreds of people, but many of them were innocent of any crimes. The operation was also allegedly used to harass local officials and to assert authority in Kurdish areas of the province. Despite the previous operation, Diyala province remains among the most violent areas of Iraq.
U.S. forces, perhaps with the help of local policemen, killed two al-Qaeda suspects and arrested six other near Duluiya. Meanwhile, an Awakening council leader said his arrest Satruday violates an agreement he signed with U.S. forces last year. In February, the arrest of a Sahwa leader in Baghdad led to deadly rioting. The leader was later released when all charges were dropped against him. Some claimed this to be harassment on the part of the central government against the Sunni Awakening. Many Sahwa patrols also operate in Diyala province.
During a raid in Abu Ghraib, Iraqi soldiers killed an Awakening Council member and arrested his brother.
In Mosul, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed a civilian instead. A roadside bomb wounded a policeman. Gunmen killed a civilian near his home in western Mosul. Iraqi security forces detained seven suspects, while the army arrested two others.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb wounded three people in Zaafaraniyah.
Thirty-six suspects were detained in a continued operation in Basra. A number of vehicles were also confiscated. Some question whether these security operations are actually harassment of rival Shi’ite groups.
Twelve suspects were arrested in Amara.
Two suspects were detained north of Hilla.
Ten suspects were arrested in Garma.
Bombs and missiles were discovered in separate locations around Karbala.