Updated at 10:42 p.m. EDT, July 22, 2009
Violence struck a group of Iranian pilgrims in Diyala province. The attack left five Iranians dead and 37 wounded and was the most significant event of the day. Iraqis fared better only a day after the worst violence in weeks. At least six Iraqis were killed and 20 more were wounded. Meanwhile, PM Maliki is in the U.S. for talks with President Obama, and a House key committee approved more funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, the U.S. State Department issued a report stating that the U.S. embassy in Baghdad is significantly overstaffed.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is in Washington for what is described as talks on political reconciliation in Iraq; however, he will also discuss luring investors to Iraq and ending a war reparations resolution. Also on the docket is the deteriorating relationship between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurds. Obama has promised to keep to the current withdrawal schedule.
A House committee approved new funding for the war in Iraq, but a top defense budget writer warned that more funding will be needed. The bill has funds allocated for expenditures that President Obama and Defense Secretary Gates are hoping to eliminate, but lawmakers remain resolute in protecting funds that will return to their home districts. Funds for the closing of Guantánamo base were not approved.
Gunmen attacked a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims near Khanaqin. Five Iranians were killed and another 37 were injured in the attack. The group was traveling to a holy shrine in Najaf or returning home from Baghdad. Police were escorting the bus and returned fire, but the gunmen escaped. Iranian pilgrims frequently travel through Diyala province despite the danger.
As many as four Iraqis were killed and four were wounded in Abu Ghraib when U.S. forces returned fire on gunmen who attempted to toss a grenade at them. A U.S. military spokesman said that two of the dead were gunmen while police say four civilians were killed. An 11-year-old boy was among the dead.
A roadside bomb in Baquba blasted a truck. A passenger was killed and the driver was wounded.
A suspect was arrested south of Mosul in al-Haram. He was driving a car loaded with explosives.
A Saudi gunman was arrested in Mosul.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of a Wassit council member.
Nine suspects were arrested near Nasariya.
Five suspects were captured in southern Kirkuk.
A Turkish soldier was killed in a landmine explosion that will likely be blamed on Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) rebels. Across the border in Iran, police killed two Party Of A Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) rebels and wounded a third one. The PJAK is an offshoot of the PKK. Both groups are seeking an independent Kurdistan. The PJAK was blamed in an attack that killed four Iranian policemen over the weekend.