Updated at 8:45 p.m. EDT, May 13, 2009
At least five Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded in the latest attacks, but security forces also found an old mass grave containing about 100 bodies in Diwaniya. No Coalition deaths were reported. Meanwhile, Iraq again claimed they have an al-Qaeda leader in custody and U.S. forces returned the ancient city of Ur back to Iraqi control.
Iraq’s defense minister Abdul-Qader al-Obedi reiterated claims that security forces have the suspected leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq in custody. Yesterday, a man claiming to be Abu Omar al-Baghdadi released an audio message refuting reports of his capture. Intelligence experts say that the voice in the tape resembles a voice heard in previous releases by al-Baghdadi. Further complicating matters, al-Baghdadi never released a photograph of himself, and many experts suspect that he is merely a fabrication.
U.S. forces handed over their base at Ur to Iraqi forces today. The occupation of the 6,000-year-old archaeological site was the source of much international condemnation through the years. Although authorities claimed the selection of the site was to protect it, heavy troop and machinery presence caused much damage to the delicate ruins.
A tip led security forces to a mass grave in Diwaniya. About 100 bodies believed to belong to Kurds killed in a 1991 uprising were found. During that uprising thousands of Kurds were moved south for elimination.
Gunmen wounded four U.S. soldiers in Duluiya. U.S. forces then captured 11 suspects in connection with the attack.
A bomb attached to a car exploded, killing an Awakening Council leader and his young son, in Abu Ghraib. At least one other person was wounded.
In Baghdad, gunmen halted a motorcade carrying a senior anti-corruption official to work in Shabb district and killed Ali Mohammed Kazim.
Eighteen suspects were detained in Fallujah.
Thirty-four suspects were detained during a continuing operation across Diyala province. Explosive material and four mortars were confiscated.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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