Updated at 8:35 p.m. EST, Dec. 16, 2009
At least seven Iraqis were killed and 27 more were wounded in the latest violence. Prime Minister Maliki came out against Ba’athists again as he spoke about new security implementations. Also, the U.S. House passed a defense bill that will fund the war in Iraq.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced the formation of a new security unit within the Interior Ministry. It will deal specifically with bomb attacks and coordinating information about them between officials. The government will also offer rewards to informants who prevent car bombings. Maliki took the time to again blame Ba’athists for the bombings and warned the public that Ba’athists should be kept out of parliament during upcoming elections.
Checkpoint soldiers, however, retain a more cynical view of security efforts. They say they are prevented from carrying out their duty by influential people and are demoralized by their own commanders. Many, including the prime minister, blame security forces for dereliction of duty and in some cases the attack themselves; however, organizations like the Interior Ministry have harbored “death squads” and other destabilizing groups in the recent past.
In Baghdad, a bomb exploded on a bus in the Kadhimiya district, killing two and wounding five others. A sticky bomb left on a car in nearby Adhamiya wounded three more, including a police officer. Another sticky bomb wounded a policeman in Baladiyat. A grenade attack in Hurriya wounded two security guards last night. Another late evening attack left five wounded in a blast near the Green Zone.
An Awakening Council (Sahwa) leader was killed and two bodyguards were wounded in Madaen when a roadside bomb blasted them.
A hand grenade was tossed at a car carrying a police officer near a marketplace in Baiji. He and three others were wounded.
Gunmen killed a man in Alya.
An unidentified body was recovered in Nada.
In Ramadi, a blast wounded three policemen.
An I.E.D. blast in Saqlawiya left three wounded.
Eight people were arrested in Karbala and accused of planning attacks on Ashura pilgrims. One hundred bomb detectors were distributed to police ahead of the observances, which is estimated to begin Dec. 27.
Thirteen suspects were arrested in Basra province.
Ten suspects were detained in Rashad.
An Islamic State in Iraq member was captured in Hawija.
Three suspects were detained in Suwayra.
The International Organization for Migration is looking for $2.5 million to cover the costs of returning 700 stranded migrants back to the home countries. The migrants are in danger of abuse and exploitation but do not have the means to return home. The IOM has helped about 7,000 people return to their homes, mostly in Asia and Africa.
With the opening of an air force academy in Tikrit, Iraq has taken a major step in restoring its air force, which was shut down after the 1991 Gul War.