As the United States marks the change in mission for Iraq, one American soldier was killed in sniper fire in Tikrit. At least four Iraqis were killed and five more were wounded in unusually light violence that could be the result of a media blackout.
Marking the change in mission for troops in Iraq, U.S. President Barack Obama will tonight address the United States in a speech from the Oval Office. The president spent the day meeting with troops at Fort Bliss and speaking with former U.S. President George Bush on the phone. In Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden will oversee formal handover ceremonies before traveling to Kurdistan to discuss the political situation.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki welcomes the change, calling it a step towards sovereignty for Iraq. Many other Iraqis, despite being against occupation forces, also fear that Iraq is not ready for the switch. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, meanwhile, admitted that significant problems still plague the country, in particular the lack of a new government six months after national elections.
Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs assured the public that "combat troops" will not return to Iraq. Although fewer than 50,000 troops now remain in Iraq, a sniper killed a U.S. soldier in Tikrit, while a blast targeting U.S. troops left no casualties in Nasariya.
In Baghdad, security forces killed a suspect and arrested his colleague.
In Mosul, gunmen killed two truck-driving brothers and wounded their friend. Two suspects were arrested.
A roadside bomb wounded four people, including a child in Fallujah.
Two suspects were killed after they were spotted planting a bomb in Mahalbiya.
Two civilians were wounded in a blast in Mussayab.
Twenty-two suspects were arrested in Baiji and Duluiya.
The chief of police in Wassit and 20 officers were questioned in relation to a deadly bombing there last week.