Iraq Bombs and Mass Grave Drive Casualties to 279 Dead, 103 Wounded

Bombers returned to a Shi’ite neighborhood in Baghdad that is the site of an important shrine. South of the capital, a mass grave was discovered. Meanwhile, U.S. soldiers are going public about their brushes with chemical weapons in Iraq. At least 279 people were killed and 103 were wounded.

Long after the drawdown, several U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq are revealing they were exposed to chemical weapons. The weapons were old but could still sicken the men. Due to the secrecy surrounding the finds, the soldiers were given neither adequate treatment nor recognition for their dangerous service.

Lieutenant General Mahdi Gharawi, who was in charge of Mosul at the time of its conquest by Islamic State militants, is contradicting the official story of the fall of Mosul. He claims he knew an attack was coming, but Baghdad rebuffed his appeals for reinforcements. Baghdad then used him as a scapegoat for the failure in security. He awaits the results of an investigation that could mean the death penalty. However, many civilians and soldiers tell a different story about Gharawi, saying that he alienated the Sunni population in Mosul and was unable or unwilling to rally the troops to fight.

Near the Iraq border in Turkey, Turkish fighter planes bombed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) sites after reports that the rebels had shelled a military outpost. If a ceasefire between the government and the guerrilla group fails, it could mean the rebels’ return to their hideouts in northern Iraq. For years, the P.K.K. used northern Iraq from which to stage their attacks in Turkey. Turkey, in turn, would unilaterally bomb suspected camps without asking for Baghdad’s permission. Should that begin again, it would open up a new front in this complicated war.

In Baghdad, a car bomb in Kadhimiya killed 25 people, including a lawmaker, and wounded at least 56 more; Ahmed al-Khafaji was also a Badr commander and a former deputy interior minister. Four people were killed and 11 were wounded in a blast in Qahira.

A shepherd in Mahaweel found 35 bodies in a mass grave. They were killed several months ago.

In Mosul, militants executed a journalist. A bomb killed four members of a family, including two children. Two women were executed.

One soldier was killed and 18 were wounded during a battle in Latifiya.

In Karaghol, a militant leader and three guards were killed in a clash that also left a militiaman dead and seven more wounded.

In Tikrit, militants killed two volunteer fighters and wounded nine more. Airstrikes killed 13 militants near the university.

In Baiji, a drone killed a child and an adult. Thirty militants were killed in a clash near the refinery.

One Peshmerga fighter was wounded during a clash in Jalawla that left two militants dead.

Airstrikes left 55 militants dead near Muqdadiya.

Airstrikes in Aziz Balad killed 50 militants.

An operation near Hunbus left 22 militants dead.

Thirteen militants were killed in or near Balad, Baiji, Duluiya or Samarra.

Security forces took back three villages near Dujail and killed seven militants in the process.

Six militants were killed in Ramadi.

Tens of militants were killed in Jurf al-Sakhar.

Heavy fighting is taking place in al-Baghdadi.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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