Although the violence today was not as dramatic as yesterdays’, a number of attacks left at least 12 dead and 36 more wounded. Surprisingly, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made an unannounced trip to Baghdad even though troops are scheduled to finish withdrawal in just one month.
V.P. Biden dropped in on U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey and General Lloyd Austin, who is the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, during a surprise visit today. He also met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani, and Parliamentary Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi during a gathering of the U.S.-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee. Iraqi analyst Al-Naser Duraid thinks this visit, just ahead of the U.S. withdrawal, is directed at Iran and a reminder that the United States will remain involved in the country.
Five people, all related, were killed in a home invasion attack in Samarra. At least two of the victims were women.
A sticky bomb blast in Thaqafiya killed three people, including a mobile phone shopkeeper who owned the car.
In Qayara, two policemen were shot dead.
A booby-trapped car exploded at a checkpoint in Hit, killing one soldier and wounding 10 others.
A bomb targeting police in Shura killed one policeman and wounded two more when it exploded.
In Qaim, a bomb wounded five people, including two civilians.
In Mosul, a blast at a checkpoint wounded four people. An off-duty policeman was wounded in a shooting. A shootout between police and gunmen wounded two bystanders. A car bomb was defused; two suspects were arrested in connection.
Two more people were reported wounded in yesterday’s attack on a Turkmen politician’s home in Kirkuk.
A policeman’s car was set on fire in Hammam al-Alil but no casualties were reported.