At least 305 people were killed and 55 more were wounded today.
The United States received the Iraqi government’s promise that U.S. personnel will have immunity. When the U.S. was trying to negotiate continued U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iraqi government refused that request.
The Iraqi Army reported the deaths of as many as 73 prisoners during an attack in Hashimiya. One policeman and six gunmen were also killed. Several policemen were wounded as well. Authorities claimed the men were killed in crossfire during a militant attack, but doubt about their story has arisen. A similar slaughter occurred a week ago in Baquba, where the Iraqi forces were blamed for detainee deaths. The one witness who survived there was later kidnapped from a hospital and killed.
Militants took over a desert town called Nukhaib, which is further south, towards the Saudi Arabian border. Three years ago near this area, the massacre of a group of Shi’ite pilgrims nearly ignited sectarian tensions. This may be a prelude to an attack from Saudi Arabia. Authorities in Dhi Qar province are preparing for such an incursion.
An Iraq air strike in Tikrit yesterday killed seven civilians and wounded 12 more. The government only claimed 42 militant deaths, which is two more deaths than reported previously. Witnesses said army helicopters fired on a group of civilian cars lined up at a gas station. Separately, Iraqi forces reported the death of Abu Qatada, a militant leader who was a former Iraqi special forces officer.
In Baghdad province, security forces killed 104 militants and wounded 31 more. Forty militants were killed near the Baiji refinery. Despite the slaughter, they may have taken control of the entire complex. In any case, the fighting here has cut into gas supplies in other parts of the country and is encouraging price gouging, hoarding, and other problems. Also, there are reports from the city that militants have been searching house-to-house for single women to marry.
Militants near Kirkuk handed over 15 bodies belonging to Shi’ite Turkmen who had been kidnapped last week. The militants then attacked the cemetery where the victims were being buried and killed four Peshmerga guards. Fifteen Turkmen are still missing. Separately, mortars wounded two other Peshmerga fighters.
Security forces killed 23 militants in Adhaim.
In Tarmiya, six bodies belonging to one family were found bearing gunshot wounds. Three of them were children.
In al-Alam, 57 families were kidnapped. They are being held hostage until authorities hand over Baiji.
Gunmen killed a civilian and wounded a policeman in Abu Ghraib.
A civilian was shot dead in Baquba.
A roadside bomb killed one Peshmerga soldier and wounded six more in Rabeaa.
Near Samarra, 20 militants were killed.
A bomb in Mussayab wounded three policemen.
A suicide bomber blew up a bridge near Jalawla.