Iraq War Formally Ends, But Violence Continues

The war may have ended for the United States, but attacks continue to plague Iraqis. At least 12 Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded in ongoing violence. An unkonwn number of demonstrators in Baquba may have also been wounded.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other U.S. officials formally ended the Iraq War today during a quiet but 45-minute-long ceremony at Baghdad International Airport. There, the U.S. Forces-Iraq flag was symbolically retired. About 4,000 troops remain in Iraq, but they are expected to leave by Dec.22. The war began on March 20, 2003.

While Panetta described the war as worth the cost, many Iraqis would echo Mariam Khazim’s sentiment: "The Americans did not leave modern schools or big factories behind them. Instead, they left thousands of widows and orphans." The U.S. government has promised continued support for Iraq.

Thousand of Shi’ites demonstrated against transforming Diyala province into a semi-autonomous region. Some of the protestors managed to break into the provincial council building before police used batons and water cannons to break up the crowds. The diverse province is home to Shi’ites, Sunnis and Kurds. Apparently, the predominantly Kurdish Khanaqin was promised to Iraqi Kurdistan in exchange for support from Kurdish polititians that would accomplish this goal. The Khalis district threatened to secede and join Baghdad instead. Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who may be sent some of the demonstrators who arrived from Baghdad, called the bid for semi-autonomy "provocative." There is no word on how many demonstrators may have been wounded.

In Baghdad, two civilians were killed in a blast

Three policemen were killed and two civilians were wounded during an attack on a checkpoint west of Mosul in Matahin.

Three people were killed and seven others were wounded during mostly failed attacks on the government compound in Ramadi. Two people were killed and five more were wounded during a pair of blasts. The third bomb left one dead and two wounded. Some or all of the dead may have been suicide bombers.

The bodies of three government workers were found in Duluiya. They were kidnapped three days ago, bound, and shot to death.

Gunmen kidnapped a local official and his son in Jurf al-Sakhar. They killed the father.

A roadside bomb in al-Mazra wounded three Sahwa members.

A policeman was stabbed, but not killed, in Mahaweel.

A university professor disappeared in Babel.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.