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Mar 6th, 2009

12 Dead, Dozens Hurt in Iraq Market Bombing

A policeman inspects the wreckage of a vehicle use...
A policeman inspects the wreckage of a vehicle used in a car bomb attack in Hamza, 80 miles south of Baghdad, on Thursday, March 5, 2009. (Photo credit: Reuters)

March 5, 2009

BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded in a livestock market in Iraq’s southern Babil province on Thursday, killing 12 people, wounding 40 and shattering a peace that had held in the area for some time, police said.

The blast in Hamza, a mostly Shi’ite Muslim town 80 miles south of Baghdad, occurred in a region that has been relatively quiet for months amid a general decline across Iraq in the violence unleashed by the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Officials said they suspected it to be the work of militants linked to feuding local Shi’ite Muslim politicians, some of whom are unhappy about the results of January 31 provincial elections.

“This area used to see a lot of terrorist attacks but things were settling down,” said eyewitness Ali al-Sultani, whose brother was wounded in the blast. “I saw human flesh and pieces of dead sheep flying everywhere.” …

Babil province has a mixed Sunni Arab and Shi’ite population, communities that turned on each other in a wave of sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands. …


U.S. Soldier Killed in Attack on Base in Iraq

March 3, 2009

BAGHDAD — Insurgents attacked a main U.S.-Iraqi base Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul, killing one American soldier and striking directly at the Iraqi command center for an offensive against the militants.

The barrage underscored the resilience of al-Qaida in Iraq and other groups after repeated attempts to break their hold in Mosul, a dangerous city where at least seven U.S. soldiers have been killed since early February. …

The attack Tuesday hit Forward Operating Base Diamondback in southern Mosul, according to the U.S. military.

Initial reports indicate it was a rocket attack, the U.S. military said. Rockets have hit U.S. forces in and around Baghdad, but much less frequently in Mosul and surrounding areas.

Iraqi police, however, described the attack as mortar strikes. The Iraqi official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to release the information. …

Last month, a suicide car bomber struck a U.S. patrol in Mosul, killing four American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter in the deadliest single attack against U.S. forces in nine months. Then last week, two Iraqi policeman opened fire on visiting U.S. soldiers, killing one American in an attack that deepened worries of possible infiltration of security forces.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said the number of detainees held by the Americans in Iraq has dropped to 13,832 from a peak of 26,000 in 2007. A military statement said U.S. forces have been releasing an average of 50 detainees a day. …


U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq

As of Thursday, March 5, 2009, at least 4,255 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

Latest reported casualty:

A soldier died Tuesday, March 3, 2009 of injuries from indirect fire in Mosul.

Latest identification:

Marine Cpl. Donte J. Whitworth, 21, Noblesville, Ind., died Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009 after a vehicle accident near Al Taquddum Air Base, Taqaddum, Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Ariz. [At the time of his death, Cpl. Whitworth was due to return home soon and had already sent his duffel bag ahead to his mother, Carla Plowden, who retired after 20 years with the Marines shortly before her son enlisted.]


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Security Developments in Iraq 

Following are security developments in Iraq on March 5, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

ANBAR – Major-General Tareq Yusuf, police chief for western Anbar province, said Iraqi forces killed a man named Hamza al-Lihaibi, believed to be a senior member of Sunni Islamist al Qaeda in Anbar, during clashes in the Hawran valley about 125 miles west of Baghdad.

MOSUL – A parked car bomb wounded a policeman and a civilian woman when it exploded near a police patrol in southern Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A suicide car bomber wounded six people including a soldier in northern Mosul, police said.

HAMZA – A car bomb in a popular livestock market killed 12 people and wounded 40 in the Shi’ite town of Hamza, 80 miles south of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – Three people were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol near al-Nisour Square in central Baghdad, police said.

TIKRIT – A roadside bomb wounded Muhsin Taha al-Mismar, the head of the education office of Salahuddin Province, in a town near the city of Tikrit, 95 miles north of Baghdad, police said. Mismar’s driver was also wounded in the blast.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen shot and wounded police Brigadier-General Salam Salman while he was heading to work in central Baghdad, police said.

SAMARRA – A U.S.-backed neighborhood patrol raided a house where it found nine tons of explosives and weapons and arrested seven insurgents, near the city of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, said Khalid al-Bazee, the head of the neighborhood patrols in Samarra.

Following are security developments in Iraq on March 4, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

BAGHDAD – Six civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol went off in Wathiq square in central Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – Gunmen shot dead a lawyer after storming his office in central Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

YATHRIB – A roadside bomb killed a tribal leader, his wife and two children in Yathrib, 56 miles north of Baghdad, Yathrib police chief, Major Abdul-Wahab Mohammed, said.

MOSUL – Two policemen were killed and 21 people were wounded, including eight policemen, when a suicide car bomb exploded near a police checkpoint in northern Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen in drive-by shooting killed a civilian in southern Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – A sniper attacked an Iraqi army patrol killing a soldier in western Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – A U.S. soldier was killed in a rocket attack on Tuesday in Mosul, the U.S. military said in a statement.

BAGHDAD – Three people were killed and 10 others were wounded in a suicide attack targeting a police patrol in the Karrada area of central Baghdad, police said.


Conflict in Iraq video

GOP calling for Iraq ‘victory’ declaration (MSNBC, March 4, 2009) — Republican Rep. Steve King tells MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell it’s time to officially declare victory in Iraq, now that a majority of benchmarks defined by Congress have been met. (04:19)

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