Updated at 6:50 p.m. EDT, July 26, 2009
At least 26 Iraqis were killed and 28 more were wounded in today’s attacks. No Coalition deaths were reported, but former soldiers described the conditions that likely contributed to the high amount of violent crimes attributed to a group of Iraq veterans. Separately, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that U.S. soldiers are allowed to defend themselves in attacks. Meanwhile, some Iraqis are finding it difficult to legally immigrate to the U.S. because of the "broad language" used in the Patriot Act. Also, polls closed peacefully in the Kurdish Autonomous Region.
A group of Colorado-based soldiers told of conditions that may have led to an unusually large number of them committing crimes such as murder and manslaughter. Among them was a decline in unit morale and punishment for seeking psychological care. The crimes were not limited to Iraq. In some cases, the soldiers returned to the States before committing various violent offenses, including assault and rape. In one case, a soldier’s mother had warned his sargeant about her son’s violent tendencies before he murdered his drug dealer.
In Washington D.C., P.M. Maliki scolded an Iraqi officer who attempted to arrest U.S. soldiers after a controversial shootout in Abu Ghraib earlier this week. The U.S. soldiers were returning fire when at least one civilian was killed. The father of the 11-year-old who died said he believed it was U.S. gunfire that killed his son.
Some U.S.-allied Iraqis are having difficulties immigrating to the U.S. despite having worked for the state department or being tortured back home. Because of the broad language used in the Patriot Act, having once belonged to the wrong party — such as the one Iraqi President Jalal Talabani leads — is sufficient reason to postpone an asylum request.
The Independent High Electoral Commission reported that 78% of voters in the Kurdish Autonomous Region voted in yesterday’s election. Denying rumors to the contrary, a pesh merga minister said it was not necessary to call out the fighters after the election. One opposition party claimed gains, while another claimed fraud. Early results are due tomorrow. While polling was peaceful throughout the K.A.R., in neighboring Kirkuk, a pre-election census could launch a civil war ahead of elections there.
Near Ramadi in Khaldiyah, a suicide bomber killed five people who were attempting to stop him from attacking a funeral; as many as 13 people were wounded. A roadside bomb blasted a vehicle carrying a high ranking police official; four people were killed. Two policemen were killed and a third one was wounded during a suicide car bombing at their checkpoint.
In Baghdad, five people were killed and 12 more were wounded during a shootout and robbery at a money exchange office in Karrada. Five gunmen were involved in the operation, but their attempts to open a safe failed. While sectarian violence is down significantly, robbery is not and may even be on the upswing. In the past though, some terrorist groups have used robbery to fund their operations. The gunmen escaped.
Gunmen killed four people, including a civilian, at a checkpoint in Abu Ghraib.
A child was killed during a shooting in Hilla.
In Baquba, gunmen killed two people.
Gunmen stormed a Pepsi factory in Tal Keef and killed a Christian worker.
Iraq removed a small Basra-area oil field from a list of sites up for international bids. A state-run oil company will develop the field instead.
The owner of a Balad Ruz radio station claimed that Facilities Protection forces ordered his station closed. A lieutenant said that the mayor had ordered it closed.
Eight suspects were arrested in Wassit province.