Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says al-Qaeda’s power base in Iraq has been squeezed by a lack of funds and a power vacuum at the top. Despite al-Qaeda weakening, attacks continue to vex Iraq. At least 21 Iraqis were killed and 72 more were wounded in new violence. Also, Iraq lodged complaints with Iran over reports that Iranian troops have crossed the border and started to erect a new fort as part of their operations against Kurdish rebels.
Iranian troops are reportedly building a new border fort within Iraqi territory without permission from the Iraqi government. This is the second incursion of Iranian troops in the last year. Although sections of the border areas are contested, the crossing is apparently part of operations against the Party of a Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) rebels who use sparsely populated northern Iraq for their bases.
In Baghdad, a bomb loaded with ball bearings exploded at a Mansour market, killing three people and wounding nine more. Four other bombs killed two policemen and wounded 20 others. One person was killed and eight were killed when a bomb attached to a minibus exploded in Sadr City.
An Imam and his two sons were shot to death during a home invasion in al-Zaidan village, near Abu Ghraib. His wife and toddler son were wounded. The man’s brother is an Awakening Council (Sahwa) member. Three gunmen were killed in a security operation. In nearby al-Abid village, gunmen chased the families of four policemen out of their homes before demolishing the buildings. This incident could also have been targeting Sahwa supporters.
South of the capital in Sunidij, gunmen stormed a home where they killed three brothers and wounded a fourth. Their father is an outspoken critic of al-Qaeda.
A bomb in Qaim demolished the home of a Sahwa member and harmed no one, but when police arrived a second blast killed two officers and wounded three more. Qaim has suffered a surge in violence in the last week.
A roadside bomb killed two soldiers and wounded two more in Anbar province.
Three policemen were wounded during a blast in Mansouriya.
Diyala police arrested nine al-Qaeda suspects.
No casualties were reported after a U.S. vehicle was blasted in Diwaniya.