As U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met with the two leading contenders for prime minister, several suicide bombers put a damper on the attempt to reconcile the politicians’ efforts to hasten the formation of the next government. At least 19 Iraqis were killed and 57 more were wounded across the country. Also, two U.S. soldiers were wounded when their convoy came across a roadside bomb.
In Ramadi, a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives at a government compound, in a reception room just outside the governor’s office. Four people were killed and at least 38 more were wounded. Many of the victims were police and other security personnel.
In Mosul, police shot a suicide bomber disguised as a licorice juice dealer, but his explosives detonated anyway, killing two policemen and wounding four more. The bullet-riddled body of a child, perhaps 13-years old, was found. An I.E.D. blast wounded an eight-year-old girl. Seven militants were killed during clashes.
A suicide car bomber in Kirkuk wounded 14 people outside government offices. The director of provincial endowment and four bodyguards were among the casualties. Last night, militants robbed a gas station.
Gunmen killed two brothers in Mandali.
Seven suspects were arrested in Basra province.
Iraq has tightened security at the Fakka oil fields. Late last year, Iranian troops briefly took over the unused oil fields. The Iranians left after diplomatic meetings took place.
Sabotage attributed to a Kurdistan Workers Party’s (PKK) bomb halted the flow of oil through a major pipeline that runs between Iraq and Turkey. A technical problem on the Iraqi side, however, would have stopped the transfer, which makes up about one quarter of Iraq’s exports, anyway.