At least two Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded in light prayer day violence. Also, a U.S. soldier died of non-combat injuries; the death is under investigation. Meanwhile, Tony Blair testified at the Iraq Inquiry, two American tourists were arrested in Mosul, and the southern clans may boycott upcoming elections.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair defended his decision to send British troops to Iraq during testimony at the Iraq Inquiry. He said that he did not want regime change, but was concerned by Saddam’s flouting of U.N. resolutions. Blair also used the unrelated Sept. 11 Attacks in the United States to justify engaging Iraq. Previous witnesses testified that Blair had committed use of British troops in 2002, which is earlier than Blair admitted to at the Inquiry. Meanwhile, antiwar protestors outside read off the names of the war dead and called for Blair’s arrest.
Two American tourists were detained in northern Iraq for crossing the border from the Kurdish Autonomous Region. The pair had valid visas for visiting the K.A.R. but lacked permission to enter other areas of Iraq.
The head of the southern clans council, Sheikh Kadhom al-Tai’e, threatened to call for a boycott of upcoming elections over recent decisions made by the Accountability and Justice (De-Ba’athification) Committee. The head of the committee, Ahmed Chalabi, says that a recent, controversial decision to ban over 500 candidates for alleged ties to the defunct Ba’ath Party was reached well within the limits of the law; however, his questionable past undermines the perceived fairness of the committee.
In Baghdad, a bomb in Suleikh wounded four soldiers.
In Mosul, gunmen wounded two soldiers.
Gunmen killed a civilian near Kirkuk in the village of Bibani al-Kabir; three suspects were arrested for the murder.
The Justice Ministry released 155 detainees after the courts could not produce enough evidence against them.
The Basra operations commander dismissed rumors that Iranian soldiers have taken over the Khour al-Aamiya oil port.
Syria jailed two Syrians for fomenting unrest in Iraq.