Although U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Iraq on Thursday to show U.S. support for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Qatari officials show no similar faith for the weakened premier. Qatar and other Gulf states are negotiating for the release of a Qatari hunting party, kidnapped four months ago. However, the officials are bypassing an ineffectual Baghdad to secure the help of local tribes and Shi’ite militiamen. Secret talks have been underway with these groups. The release of the hunting party is important as members of the ruling al-Thani family are among the abductees.
Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr postponed a planned protest until Saturday to give Parliament the opportunity to vote on Abadi’s technocrat nominees for Cabinet. Some demonstrators already camped out in Tahrir Square, however, threatened to break down the walls of the Green Zone, Baghdad’s government center.
Residents of Falluja are able to describe, via telephone, the conditions of the city. Security forces have successfully cordoned the city, preventing food and medicine from getting in. However, militants have also successfully kept residents from escaping.
At least 195 were killed and 27 were wounded:
In Mosul, militants executed a Peshmerga officer and his bodyguard.
Militants attacked a Shiki checkpoint, where they killed a soldier and wounded two more.
Security forces in Mahana and Kardan killed 91 militants.
In Falluja, security forces killed 13 militants.
Twelve militants were killed and 20 were wounded when a Coalition B-52 conducted airstrikes in Bashir and Rashid.
Strikes on Albu Shejil left eight militants dead.
Four militants were killed in Qahtaniya.
Strikes killed three suicide bombers in Ma’amier.
In Tal Afar, three militants were killed.
Three militants were also killed in Ba’Shiqah.
Another three were killed in Baaj.