Security forces are often targets for violence, but the government-backed Sahwa or Awakening Council members took the brunt of attacks. At least 11 of them were killed and one more was wounded. Another seven Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded in other attacks.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared Saturday, which is last "official" day for U.S. troops to leave the country, a national holiday. Those final troops withdrew two weeks ago; however, a small group will remain behind as "trainers." Also, a small "private army" of contractors is essentially replacing the U.S. troops in order to protect U.S. interests.
Gunmen overtook and killed six Sahwa members at a checkpoint in Khan Bani Saad. The head of the local security committee, Saad Abdullah, said the attack indicated the re-activation of an al-Qaeda sleeper cell. Al-Qaeda considers the fighters "traitors" for aligning with U.S. and Iraqi-government forces. The attack comes on the heels of several arrests.
Another four Sahwa members were killed yesterday during a sticky bomb attack in Taji.
Two policemen were killed in an attack on their Wahda outpost; one bystander was also killed and another was wounded.
In Hit, one policeman was killed and five civilians were wounded when a bomb exploded at a restaurant.
A kidnapped child was released in Kirkuk after a large ransom was paid; however, hospital authorities say he is not in stable condition. A soothsayer was injured when a sticky bomb attached to his car exploded. A bomb was defused at the home of a director of youth sports.
No casualties were reported after the home of Dour‘s mayor was demolished in an explosion.
Another bomb, this one planted at the mayor of Kut‘s home, also left no casualties.
A State of Law M.P., Adnan Al Mayahi, alleged that most of Iraq’s security institutions are harboring infiltrators who execute arrest warrants and torture prisoners without authorization. However, several hundred Sunnis were arrested recently in a well-known yet controversial operation that the prime minister supported. Sunnis were also found illegally detained and tortured in a secret prison last year. Many of those detainees were and are innocent civilians.