At least four Iraqis were killed and two more were wounded in light violence. Several political stories are still in the headlines, including those of the Blackwater case, the bombing in Ramadi last week, and the resolution of the Peter Moore abduction. Also, a mass grave dating to the Saddam regime was found in Karbala.
The Iraqi government will help victims of a 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisour Square sue Blackwater Worldwide (now Xe Services) in the U.S. courts. A U.S. judge recently dismissed charges against five guards accused of killing 17 Iraqis. Only three of those were considered justified. One lawmaker, Omar al-Jubouri, suggested retaliating further by releasing all Iraqi detainees accused of murdering Americans. The government is also investigating whether any Blackwater/Xe employees are left in Iraq and urging them to leave the country immediately.
The Islamic State of Iraq militia group claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s deadly blasts in Ramadi. The statement was not independently confirmed. Meanwhile, the Anbar Provincial Council is looking for a new police chief after firing the former chief in the aftermath.
In the wake of Peter Moore’s recent release, British authorities are hopeful that the body of a fifth hostage will soon be released. Alan McMenemy was working as a bodyguard when he, Moore and three other guards were captured in 2007. The bodies of his three colleagues were returned earlier this year. Although his death has not been confirmed, authorities do not believe he is alive. The release of McMenemy’s body and Moore are tied to a loose deal involving the liberation of Shi’ite cleric Qais al-Khazali, who is leader of the Asa’ib al-Haq or Righteous League resistance group. British forces captured him just a few weeks before the abduction of McMenemy and Moore.
National Reconciliation Committee members traveled to Syria to meet with former Ba’ath Party leaders where they asked the leaders to join reconciliation efforts. The Iraqi government has blamed Ba’ath party members in Syria for orchestrating recent anti-government bombings in Baghdad, but the involvement of the Ba’athists not been independently confirmed and could be tied to election-year propaganda.
A mass grave containing 23 bodies and believed to date to 1991 was unearthed in Karbala. That March a number of intifadas against the Saddam regime erupted throughout Iraq and were answered with violent retaliation.
Gunmen killed three guards protecting a road construction site in Tal Abta and then burnt their bodies
In Baghdad, Iraqi security forces accidentally shot and wounded a security guard; Baghdad Operations Command denied anyone was wounded, but admitted there was a shooting. B.O.C. announced the capture of a Syrian and a Palestinian. Both were driving separate car bombs. They also confiscated over 100 explosive devices during the Ashura-Christmas holiday period.
Fourteen suspects were arrested across Basra province, but only two on "terror" charges.
Four Numaniya policemen were arrested on robbery charges. A fifth policeman is on the run.