Updated at 5:37 p.m. EDT, July 12, 2009
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher got a firsthand look at the violence in Iraq when his convoy became the target of a roadside bomb blast today. He escaped with no injuries, but elsewhere at least seven Iraqis were killed and 36 more were wounded in other attacks. Many of the attacks were directed at churches in the Baghdad area.
A roadside bomb targeted a convoy of American personnel traveling through Dhi Qar province near the holy city of Nasariya. A state department spokeswoman said that no one in the convoy was hurt, including U.S. Ambassador Hill. The incident in the usually quiet province is under investigation. The trip was unannouced.
Iraqi lawmaker Hanin al-Qadu, who represents Iraq’s Shabak minority in parliament, blamed Kurd militants for recent bombings in northern Iraq. A Sunni lawmaker meanwhile called for a census to be take after parliamentary elections, believing the census could reignite power struggles and sectarian tensions. Also, the Iraqi army chief of staff, Gen. Babaker B. Shawkat Zebari, warned that attacks in Iraq could continue for years after the U.S. pullout in 2011.
Iran is threatening legal action over the detention of five Iranian diplomats, who were held 30 months in Iraq on terrorism charges. The group returned home after U.S. forces were obligated to hand the group to Iraqi authorities. Iran denies the officials were aiding Iraqi militants.
In Baghdad, four people were killed and 21 others were wounded in a blast near a church on Palestine Street; one of the dead was Muslim. Meanwhile, blasts near churches in the Karrada neighborhood left eight wounded. Four people were wounded by a fifth bombing, which took place in Doura. Another bomb killed one Iraqi and wounded three others in Saidiya.
Gunmen in Jurf al-Sakhar killed the brother of a local Awakening Council (Sahwa) member. Attacks against Sahwa members are frequent in this part of the country, which was once among Iraq’s most dangerous.
Gunmen killed a local official in Kirkuk. The man, who was a Christian, was pulled from his car and murdered in front of his daughter.
No casualties were reported after gunmen opened fire at a Tal Afar marketplace.
North of Tal Afar in Ayadiya, an I.E.D. exploded at a marketplace but left no casualties.
Authorities arrested three people in connection with a bomb that was successfully defused in Saqlawiya.
Three men suspected of ties to the Naqshabandiya Army were detained in Makhmour.
Six men were captured in different parts of Missan province. Ammunition was also discovered.