Updated at 7:37 p.m .EDT, Sept. 2, 2009
At least four Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded on a day marked by significant political and security news concerning a British hostage, U.S. contractors, Iraq’s death row and political squabbles in northern Iraq.
A body believed to belong to one of five British contractors kidnapped in 2007 was handed over to the British embassy today. Two bodies had previously been released. There is hope that one hostage remains alive.
Thanks to a delay in switching companies, a subsidiary of Xe Services, once known as Blackwater U.S.A., will continue to provide security services for the time being. After a controversial shootout in 2007, the Iraqi government refused to renew any contracts with Blackwater.
At least one thousand Iraqis sit on death row. Four new prisoners have now joined them, after a court convicted the group of involvement in a deadly bank robbery in July and sentenced them to hang for the crime.
The Interior Ministry sacked seventeen senior police officers in Khalis. The reason for the firings was not released. In years past though, a power struggle between the central government and various Diyala province officials and security groups has lead to increased tensions and even armed conflict.
Separately, the Diyala province chairman said he supported the joint deployment of Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga and MNF forces into disputed areas of the province. The U.S. has suggested similar joint forces for nearby Ninewa province.
In Mosul, a car mechanic was shot and killed. Two soldiers were wounded in a roadside bombing. Another bomb wounded a civilian. Gunmen stormed a home where they killed a 19-year-old girl and wounded her mother. The body of a man bearing gunshot wounds to the head was discovered. A journalist has reported that the Iraqi army has stormed his home for the second week in a row; journalists are often harassed by Iraqi authorities and targeted by militant group.
In Baghdad, a roadside bomb wounded four policemen in the Wehda neighborhood. Another bomb wounded a policeman on Sinaa Street, while a bomb in Amil wounded two more. Late last night a bomb in Adhamiya wounded two people. Three hostages were freed and at least two kidnapping gangs were captured.
Gunmen wounded a senior intelligence official during an attack in Iskandariya.
A cache of TNT was discovered in Saidiya.
A bomb factory was seized in Amara.
A weapons and ammunition cache was found in Taji.
Across Dhi Qar province, 56 suspects were captured.
A wanted man was captured in Hilla.
A U.S. base in Fallujah was handed over to the Iraqis.
Sixteen suspects were detained in Basra.