Sunday, April 27, 2008


Suspected Shiite extremists hammered the U.S.-protected Green Zone Sunday in the fiercest salvo in weeks, apparently taking advantage of a sandstorm that blanketed the capital and grounded the American aircraft that normally prowl for launching teams.

By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press WriterSun Apr 27, 4:01 PM ET;_ylt=AgTkXvusbgT5LuDIpzyzocNX6GMA

Thunderous explosions resounded throughout the evening as rockets or mortar shells slammed into the heavily fortified area in central Baghdad.

Sirens wailed in the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and much of the Iraqi government on the west side of the Tigris River. The public address system warned people to "duck and cover" and stay away from windows.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed the area was hit by indirect fire, the military's term for rocket or mortar attacks, but said it had no immediate word on casualties.

The Green Zone has been regularly shelled since fighting broke out over a U.S.-backed government crackdown against militias that began in late March. At least four Americans, including two soldiers, have been killed in the attacks.

But the U.S. military has claimed success with operations that have effectively sealed off the southern section of Baghdad's Sadr City, a militia stronghold that is believed to be one of the prime launching sites for the Green Zone attacks.

American commanders have blamed what they call Iranian-backed Shiite factions they say have broken with a cease-fire imposed by al-Sadr in late August.

A local hospital official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said one person was killed and 11 others wounded in street battles.

In all, at least 349 Iraqis have been killed since the daily clashes began on March 25, 34 of them since Wednesday, according to an Interior Ministry official who declined to be identified for the same reason.

Heavy clashes also broke out between Shiite militiamen and Iraqi troops in the Maalif area on the southwestern edge of Baghdad. Police said that five people died and 14 were wounded in the fighting. The U.S. military said its forces were not involved.

AP Television News footage from the area showed a minibus riddled with bullets and a pool of blood in another minibus.

Two suicide car bombers also targeted Iraqi forces elsewhere in Baghdad. One killed three people and wounded nine and another killed two and wounded five.

Northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi troops also unearthed a mass grave containing more than 50 decomposed bodies in an orchard in an area that had been controlled by al-Qaida in Iraq near Baqouba, according to the Diyala provincial coordination center.


Green Zone attacked during sandstorm
Salvo comes amid political talks, reports of 100 bodies in two mass graves
MSNBC News Services
updated 12:09 p.m. CT, Sun., April. 27, 2008


BAGHDAD - Militants fired a salvo of rockets or mortars at the heavily guarded Green Zone in Baghdad on Sunday, while officials reported that Iraqi security forces had found more than 100 bodies in two mass graves.

The militants apparently were taking advantage of a sandstorm that blanketed the Iraqi capital Sunday and grounded U.S. helicopters and drones that normally track their activities.

Green Zone blastsIn Baghdad, at least eight rounds slammed into the Green Zone, which houses the Iraqi government and U.S. Embassy, said a police official who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Sirens could be heard from the area and loudspeakers warned residents to take cover. There was no immediate word on casualties or damage.

An Iraqi military spokesman said that over the past month, militants had fired a total of 712 missiles and mortar rounds inside Baghdad.

"They were all Iranian-made brought into Iraq in many ways," Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi told reporters. He did not elaborate on how the security forces had determined the origin of the exploded munitions.

The Green Zone has been regularly shelled since March, and two American soldiers were killed in the bombardment earlier this month.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, a suicide car bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoint in the eastern neighborhood of Zayouna killing three people and injuring nine, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to release the information.

U.S. spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll said a series of recent car bombings and suicide attacks showed that al-Qaida in Iraq remains "a very lethal threat" and said the military would continue to pursue the insurgents "with great intensity."

Fifty bodies were found in a mass grave in central Iraq on Sunday, a military source in the area said, and another team said it had discovered more than 50 bodies in a grave south of Baghdad on April 17.

The grave found on Sunday was in the village of al-Guba, 50 miles north of Baghdad, in the troubled Diyala province, where al-Qaida Sunni Arab militants have regrouped after being driven out of other parts of the country.

Most of the bodies had their hands bound and gunshot wounds in the head. Some were decomposed, according to the military source, who declined to be named.

All items are here:
'The duck and cover alarm sounded and people ran out for cover.' Baghdad Green Zone blasted under cover of storm 27 Apr 2008 Militants bombarded Baghdad's Green Zone with rockets on Sunday, taking advantage of the cover of a blinding dust storm to launch the heavy strike.

Reuters correspondents heard the missiles whistling overhead and exploding inside the heavily fortified government and diplomatic compound on the west side of the Tigris River.

Iraqi police said eight missiles or mortars had hit the Green Zone and another 14 fell in other parts of the Iraqi capital, killing two people and wounding 20.

Updates to follow.


The situation in Iraq continues to spiral out of control and the mainstream media in the United States continues to act like everything is fine in Iraq.

More than 50 Iraqi lawmakers have staged a sit-in protesting US troops and the military action against the citizens of Sadr City in Baghdad.

Nobody seems to be in control and as each day passes the situation in Iraq approaches the boiling over point.

There is a very strong possibility the friction between the Iraqi lawmakers and the US military in Iraq could end up spreading to other provinces in Iraq and then the country will once again be thrown into an all out civil war.

MPs stage sit-in to protest blockade on Sadr City

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Sunday , 27 /04 /2008 Time 7:21:37

Baghdad, Apr 27, (VOI) – More than 50 lawmakers representing different blocs staged on Sunday a sit-in demanding the blockade imposed on the eastern Baghdad district of Sadr City for three weeks now be lifted and for military operations to cease, a legislator from the Sadrist bloc, or Iraqis loyal to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, said.

"The sit-in, which began at 12:00 p.m. in Sadr City, aims at having the military operations within it come to a halt and the blockade lifted," Falah Shanshal, a member of parliament from the Sadrist bloc, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI)."We call for dialogue and understanding away from killings that target the innocent women and children in the city," Shanshal said."The sit-in will end at 5:00 p.m. today.

If the government fails to respond to the legislators' demands, we will plan another sit-in for Monday," he added.The Sadrist bloc holds 30 out of a total 275 seats in the Iraqi Parliament.Shanshal said that the sit-in was attended by Safiya al-Suhail, an independent member of parliament, Ahmed Radi, an MP from the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), Samira al-Musawi, an MP from the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition (UIC) and Mustafa al-Lahiti, a lawmaker from the Arab Bloc for National Dialogue.


If things weren't already bad enough in Iraq, about 50 Iraqi political leaders have announced they are protesting the US military forces siege of Sadr City inside of Baghdad. Also, a top US military commander says he doesn't think the followers of Muqtada al-Sadr are paying any attention to his wishes to stop the violence in Iraq. The country is in total chaos and the mainstream media in the United States continues to ignore the growing crisis in Iraq.

Iraqi political leaders protest U.S. siege of Sadr City

Hussein Kadhim and Raviya H. Ismail McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: April 27, 2008 02:07:16 PM

BAGHDAD, Iraq_ About 50 leaders representing a variety of Iraqi political blocs took to Baghdad's Sadr City on Sunday, a stronghold of fiery religious leader Muqtada al Sadr, to protest the U.S.-led siege of that area.

The leaders promised to work together with Sadrists to remove insurgents and weapons in the area. But they also had six other demands of the government, including that it immediately suspend military activity in the city, supply basic services to residents and prioritize peaceful solutions over military conflicts.

"Whatever point the crisis reaches we will keep our efforts to put an end to it," said Ahmed Radhi, a member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the largest Sunni Muslim bloc. Radhi said the leaders formed a committee to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to solve problems plaguing Sadr City.

"We have a delegation meeting with Maliki to let him know the real situation going on in the city," said Nassar al Rubaie, a Sadrist. "We have lawmakers from different blocs and parties to come and watch the situation on the ground."

Lawmakers representing the Iraqi National Accord, the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue and the Kurdish alliance also were present. The leaders said they were moved by pictures of civilian casualties as well as the health crisis plaguing residents in Sadr City.
The protest came just days after Sadr instructed his Mahdi Army militia to stop fighting the mostly Shiite Iraqi security forces in Sadr City and the southern port city of Basra. The U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have continually battled with insurgents in both areas since Maliki led a siege of Basra at the end of March.

Sadr's latest message, delivered during Friday prayers, called for the bloodshed between Iraqis to stop, yet asked for a united force against the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
"We want liberation of ourselves and our lands from the occupier," part of the message read. "To have a real government and have real sovereignty."

There has been relative calm in the east Baghdad slum of Sadr City in the past few days after weeks of pitched battles and bombings between Iraqi security forces and insurgents.
In other areas of Baghdad violence continued. Up to five people were killed in separate bomb attacks and gun battles in the Mansour, Zayuna and Bayaa areas Sunday. Insurgents also fired rockets and mortars into the Green Zone, the heavily fortified compound that houses U.S. and Iraqi administration offices. No casualties were reported.

But the U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in Sadr City are not only fighting Mahdi Army militiamen, said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, the U.S. military spokesman for Baghdad.
"I don't think it's all Muqtada al Sadr (followers) and I don't think everyone is listening to him," Stover said. Insurgents are "continuing to attack us now even since Sadr's last message."


This is the latest list of US casualties in Iraq. To obtain further details on each GI killed in Iraq, click on the part in "blue."

Latest Coalition Fatalities

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Sgt. Guadalupe Cervantes Ramirez, 26, of Fort Irwin, Calif., died April 23 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, of injuries suffered in a vehicle incident. He was assigned to the 2nd Transportation Company (Heavy Equipment Transport...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Shaun J. Whitehead, 24, of Commerce, Ga., died April 24 in Iskandariyah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when he encountered an improvised explosive device while on a dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Staff Sgt. Ronald C. Blystone, 34, of Springfield, Mo., died April 23 in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds suffered when he encountered small arms fire during a dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (2 of 2)
1st Lt. Timothy W. Cunningham, 26, of College Station, Texas...died April 23 in Golden Hills, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a vehicle incident. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualties (1 of 2)
Pfc. John T. Bishop, 22, of Gaylord, Mich...died April 23 in Golden Hills, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a vehicle incident. They were assigned to the 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Marine Casualties (2 0f 2)
Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter, 19, of Sag Harbor, N.Y...assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune...died 4/22 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations...

04/25/08 DoD Identifies Marine Casualties (1 0f 2)
Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale, 21, of Burkeville, Va...assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune...died 4/22 from wounds suffered while conducting combat operations...


A dispute over the number of Iraqi civilians, including women and children, who have been killed in the latest attack by US forces in Baghdad, appears to have been resolved.

Here is how the story unfolds: (click on part in BLUE to read the account)

BaghdadClashes continue between U.S. and Iraqi forces and JAM (Sadrist) fighters in "eastern Baghdad" (presumably Sadr City). Reuters reports 10 people killed, including a woman and 2 children, 42 injured. AP gives a lower casualty total but does say that 4 of the injured are children. Al Jazeera gives the death toll as 8, wounded as 44. AFP appears to resolve the conflicting death tolls, reporting that 8 people were killed during the overnight, including the civilians, while the U.S. military reported 2 more militants killed in the morning.Suicide bomber attacks checkpoint in Zayouna neighborhood, killing 2 Iraqi soldiers and injuring 5.One killed, 4 injured in clashes between U.S. forces and fighters believed to belong to JAM in western Baghdad suburb of al-Bayyaa. Car bomb attack on police patrol near al-Shaab kills 1 police officer, wounds 3. VoI also reports IED attack on an army patrol in Mansour, killing 1 soldier and injuring 6. This is probably the same incident which Reuters describes somewhat differently,as two bombs exploding within a few minutes of each other, killing 1 soldier and injuring 4 soldiers and 2 civilians.

Tuz KhurmatoDrive by shooting kills 1 Iraqi soldier.

MosulOne civilian killed, 1 injured, apparently in crossfire during clashes between security forces and unidentified gunmen.VoI also reports an unexplained attack that killed a man in the Souk al-Maash district.Reuters reports a roadside bomb attack at an unspecified location in Nineveh Province, killing 2 police officers and injuring 3 officers and 2 civilians.VoI reports additional incidents in Mosul:
"Four civilians were wounded in two separate improvised explosive device (IED) blasts in Mosul, while Iraqi police defused two others in the eastern part of the city," Brig. Khaled Abdul-Sattar, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations command, told Aswat al-Iraq.In other statements, Abdul-Sattar said that two civilians were wounded when unidentified gunmen attacked a checkpoint in southeastern Mosul.
An official source in the Iraqi army said that two civilians were killed and another wounded in two separate attacks in Mosul. (Not clear whether either or both of these correspond to the attacks reported separately.)
Another security source in Mosul said that four policemen were killed and three others injured when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive vehicle near an Iraqi police patrol in the eastern part of the city.


Official says suicide bomber detonated her taxi near stadium
Iraqi soldier, traffic officer among those killed, official says
Official: Roadside bomb in western Baghdad kills police officer
U.S. military says it killed seven "special group extremists" in Sadr City

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A female suicide car bomber attacked an Iraqi security forces' checkpoint in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, killing three people, military officials said.
The bombing came as fighting in the capital's Sadr City neighborhood killed at least seven Shiite militants.

The suicide bomber detonated her taxi near Shaab stadium in a mostly Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said.

An Iraqi soldier and a traffic police officer were among the fatalities. Fourteen others were wounded in the blast, the official said.

In western Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded Sunday morning, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounding six people, including soldiers and bystanders, the official said.
The soldiers were on foot patrol in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Mansour at the time of the blast.

In other incidents, eight people were killed and 44 others were wounded Saturday night and Sunday morning in Sadr City, the Interior Ministry official said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military said it killed seven "special group extremists" in Sadr City during that time.
All but one of the alleged extremists were targeted by airstrikes.


The following is a report on three GIs wounded in Iraq and how they are progressing with their rehabilitation. You can learn more about each GI by clicking on their name.

Pfc. Matthew Bradford, 19, son of Debbie Bradford of Mosinee, was injured Jan. 18, 2007 while serving with the U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq. He lost both legs and his left eye and suffered intestinal damage, a ruptured bladder and broken bones.

Spec. Casimir Werda was a gunner on a Humvee in Iraq when an explosion ripped the sight from his eyes. After nearly a year of healing and rehabilitation -- in which he learned how to do routine tasks without sight. "It was a tragedy," Werda, 24, said of the March 14, 2007, attack.

Tim Butler a 20-year-old Watertown man is preparing to return to military service next week after a stay at home to recover from wounds he suffered in a March 7 roadside bomb blast in Iraq. It was the 10th time Pfc. Tim Butler was hit by a roadside bomb. “This last hit messed me up pretty good,” Butler said. “Any time I took a hit, I went to the doctors and said I was all right, so I could keep going out, because I really liked my job. The 10th blast I took sent me over the edge with my concussions though. It just got worse and worse, and that last one was it. I've got a traumatic brain injury.”