Updated at 10:15 p.m. EST, Dec. 18, 2009
Iranian troops briefly entered a disputed border area of Iraq and seized an oil well. No fighting was reported there, but two Iraqis were killed and four others were wounded elsewhere in Iraq. Iraqi investigators have finished excavating a mass grave containing 185 Kurds that dates to the Saddam era. Meanwhile, Admiral Michael Mullen visited troops near Nasariya, and Iraq war vets are finding organic farming to be great therapy in California. In the United Kingdom, the families of two men who were kidnapped in Iraq two years ago asked for their safe return; the bodies of three colleagues were returned earlier this year.
Iraq’s deputy foreign minister, Mohammed Haj Mahmoud, said that Iranian troops have crossed over into a disputed border area in Missan province and seized an oil well. Such incursions have occurred before, and no fighting was reported. The soldiers, who may have numbered as littel as three, withdrew shortly after incident. An eyewitness said the convoy consisted of 25 cars and the Iranians planted a flag on the well. Tehran denied the report. Iraq had tried to sell the oil field earlier this year and has accused Iran of taking oil from it.
A mass grave near Kirkuk gave up 185 bodies believed to belong to Kurdish victims of Saddam Hussein’s "Arabization" scheme and dates possibly to the late 1980s.
Admiral Michael Mullen traveled to Operating Base Adder near Nasariya, where he, tennis star Anna Kournikova, and American country music singer Billy Ray Cyrus visited American troops. The admiral later met with local officials and reconstruction teams. War vets who have returned home to the United States are finding alterative methods to deal with post-war stress. Some have found working the land to be highly therapeutic.
In Kut, the body of a teenage girl was discovered in the Tigris River. She has been shot to death.
A water department employee was shot dead in Suleimaniyah.
In Baghdad, a bomb expoded near a cinema and wounded four people.
Police defused a bomb planted on a highway used by pilgrims visiting Karbala.
Seven suspects were detained and three bombs were defused in Basra province.
Two Naqshabandiya Army suspects were captured in Makhmour.
In Najaf, an imam, who is a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) political party, warned of a plot to restore political power to Ba’athists.
In Turkey, members of the recently banned Democratic Society Party (DTP) have dropped plans to walk out on parliament and will instead join other pro-Kurdish parties. Turkey recently banned the party on suspicion of having ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).