Updated at 9:59 p.m. EST, Dec. 15, 2009
Bombs targeted Baghdad governmental institutions today, exactly a week after “Bloody Tuesday” left hundreds dead or wounded. Mosul was equally affected, but those attacks were directed at Christian targets instead. At least 15 Iraqis were killed and 63 more were wounded across the country. The attacks also indirectly affected Camp Ashraf as a number of journalists heading to the immigrant camp were awaiting transport together near a blast site. Also, the ongoing PKK difficulties claimed two more lives in Turkey. Meanwhile, an epidemic of veteran suicides is plaguing soldiers who have returned home only to battle emotional enemies.
Today’s casualty figures in Baghdad are much lower that last Tuesday’s, but at least five people were killed and 16 more were injured in a coordinated attack. The blasts were followed by several mortar attacks and assassination attempts. The Foreign Ministry, the Immigration Ministry and the Iranian Embassy, all near the Green Zone, were the possible targets, but the Iranian envoy said the embassy suffered no casualties or damage. Another unexploded car bomb was discovered and dismantled near the Green Zone. An attack on the head of Sadr City’s municipal council left him and his brother wounded.
Iraqis are asking how the bombers are able to get past checkpoints. Perhaps some of those arrested for dereliction of duty last week were indeed slack, but others may have just been using faulty equipment. Maj. Gen. Jehad al-Jabiri, who heads the Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Explosives, last month insisted a detection device the Iraqis are using works, but U.S. Dept. of Defense experts have called the device a useless “divining rod.” Separately, Parliament Speaker Ayad Al-Samarraie admitted security in Iraq is substandard.
Among the wounded was a journalist awaiting transport to Camp Ashraf, where several thousand People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) followers have been living in exile for two decades. Brig. Gen. Bassel Hamad said today that the Iraqi government would not forcibly move residents from the camp; however, Iraqi police were at the camp this morning reminding residents that they are required to leave. Last week, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for their transfer to a remote prison in the Iraqi desert. The group cannot be returned to Iran where they await possible torture and execution. In the U.S. lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to stop the relocation and presented a resolution supporting the refugees that is now making its way through the House of Representatives.
In Mosul, at least five people were killed and 40 more were wounded when two car bombs and an I.E.D. were detonated near Christian targets; schoolchildren were among the casualties. Gunmen killed a soldier in Nabi Younes. A civilian was killed in Shurta. An explosives cache was discovered. A thermal bomb in Saaa wounded a police lieutenant and a woman as well. Three more policemen were killed when gunmen lobbed a grenade at them in Wadi Egab.
Gunmen threw a thermal bomb at a U.S. patrol in Hawija, but the blast wounded three civilians instead. Two suspects were arrested at a checkpoint; one is believed to belong to the Naqshabandiya Army and the other to the Jaysh al-Mujahideen.
One suspect was arrested in Tal Afar after he attacked a municipal vehicle.
Two suspects were captured in Kirkuk.
A weapons cache was found in Hamdaniya.
Two car bombs were discovered and arrests were made in Najaf and Karbala.
At least two people were killed and eight more were wounded during demonstrations in Turkey. In one protest, a group denouncing the ban of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) demanded a shopkeeper close his store, but the man instead opened fire on the group. The DTP was banned last week for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebel group. Nineteen parliament members who belong to the now defunct party resigned in protest.