BAGHDAD -- A suicide bomber blew himself up at a police checkpoint west of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 10 people including the local police chief, an official said
The U.S. military also said an American Marine died Friday in a non-combat related incident in Iraq, pushing the number of Americans killed this month to 21 as May draws to a close.
By KIM GAMEL ; Associated Press Writer Published: May 31st, 2008 03:18 PM Updated: May 31st, 2008 03:19 PM
Fearing more attacks, authorities imposed a vehicle ban and closed all entrances to the targeted town of Hit.
The attacker detonated his explosives belt after approaching the checkpoint, which was near a bridge, at about 9 p.m., said the town's administrator, Hikmat Jubeir.
Jubeir said six policemen were among those killed, including the town's police chief Col. Khalil Ibrahim. Four civilians also were killed and 12 other people were wounded, he said.
Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad, is in Anbar province, which was the center of the Sunni-led insurgency before local tribal leaders joined forces with the U.S. military against al-Qaida in Iraq, a key factor in a steep drop in violence nationwide.
The town itself was among a series of communities along the Euphrates River used by al-Qaida and other insurgent groups to smuggle weapons, ammunition and fighters from Syria southeast toward Baghdad.
The bombing was a grim reminder of the dangers that continue to face Iraqis despite the recent security gains.
It raised the number of Iraqis killed in May to at least 532, the lowest monthly death toll this year, according to an Associated Press tally compiled from Iraqi police and military reports.
In political developments, loyalists of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr stepped up their opposition to a long-term security deal being negotiated between the Iraqi government and the United States.
Senior Sadrists, including lawmakers Falah Hassan Shanshal and Maha Adel al-Douri, met in the cleric's Sadr City office in Baghdad and called on the Iraqi government to stop the negotiations and to hold a public referendum on the issue.
Al-Sadr, the hardline Shiite cleric whose Mahdi Army militia battled U.S.-Iraqi troops in Baghdad's Sadr City district until a truce this month, also has called for a referendum along with weekly protests against the deal.
Widespread opposition among the Sadrists and other Shiite and Sunni groups has raised doubts that negotiators can meet a July target to finalize a pact to keep U.S. troops in Iraq after the current U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.
Although U.S. officials insist they are not seeking permanent bases, suspicion runs deep among many Iraqis that the Americans want to keep at least some troops in the country for many years.
Tensions also rose when Nassar al-Rubaie, the leader of the Sadrist bloc in parliament, was stopped at a police checkpoint outside Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad.
The six-car convoy, en route from Basra to the holy city of Najaf, was held up for nearly two hours without explanation, al-Rubaie told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. He called for the government to stop harassing Sadrists and put those responsible on trial.
Police Col. Asaad Ali, the director of the Diwaniyah operations center, said police stopped the convoy because gunmen are not allowed in the city and al-Rubaie was protected by armed guards. He said a patrol was sent to safely escort the convoy on its way out of the province.
Despite the truce, the U.S. military has continued to target what it calls Iranian-backed Shiite militia factions, warning key leaders have fled to other areas as American and Iraqi forces closed in on them in Sadr City.
American troops acting on tips in eastern Baghdad on Saturday captured a suspect believed to be a key assistant to one of the fugitive militia leaders, according to a military statement. The man captured was accused of kidnapping and managing funds for the so-called special groups.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 8:43 PM
Iraq Deaths Down, but for How Long?
Iraq deaths down to lowest monthly level in 4 years, but will the trend last?
By ROBERT H. REID Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press
U.S. military deaths plunged in May to the lowest monthly level in more than four years and civilian casualties were down sharply, too, as Iraqi forces assumed the lead in offensives in three cities and a truce with Shiite extremists took hold.
But many Iraqis as well as U.S. officials and private security analysts are uncertain whether the current lull signals a long-term trend or is simply a breathing spell like so many others before.
U.S. commanders also warn the relative peace is fragile because no lasting political agreements have been reached among the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities.
Talks on returning Sunnis to the government broke down this week, and tensions among rival Shiite parties remain high despite a May 11 truce that ended weeks of bloody fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City district.
Iraqis have experienced lulls in the past — notably after the January 2005 elections — only to see violence flare again.
Click here for full story: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=4970162
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 2:20 PM
BAGHDAD, May 30 (Reuters) - One Iraqi child was killed and two wounded on Friday when a group of children playing soccer picked up a bomb and it exploded, police said.
Reuters North American News Service
The children, aged about 5 or 6, were playing near a rubbish dump in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, when they spotted a strange object, police said.
When they picked it up, the home-made device exploded.
Relatives brought the injured children to a local hospital, where they lay in bed, bandaged and blood-spattered.
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 2:07 PM
Before providing the list of cities and provinces Sen. John McCain better stay away from when he travels to Iraq to prove once again how "wonderful" things are going in Iraq, we will prove you with information of the latest US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember: Click on the part in "BLUE" and you will get additional information on each topic or death of an American.
War News for Saturday, May 31, 2008
MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Force – West Marine in a non-combat related incident in Iraq on Friday, May 30th. No other details were released and the incident is under investigation.
The Washington Post is reporting the death of a coalition soldier from a suicide car bomb in the eastern Afghan Nangarhar province on Saturday, May 31st. Six other people including three civilians and three soldiers were wounded in the attack. The military has not yet confirmed the death.May 29 airpower summary:
Reported Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: U.S. forces said they captured a key "special groups" suspect in eastern Baghdad. The suspect is accused of involvement in kidnappings and managing funds for the special groups.
#2: Gunmen on a motor bike kidnapped a 10 year old girl at Zayuna neighborhood (east Baghdad).
#3: A roadside bomb was defused by the Iraqi army in the Mansour neighborhood (west Baghdad) near a restaurant .No casualties or damage were reported.
Diyala Prv:#1: Gunmen assassinated the head of the Diyala morgue, Ahmed Foad, at Al-Sada, a town northeast of Baquba.
Baquba:#1: Three civilians were killed and seven others wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near a passenger mini-bus in central Baaquba on Saturday, police said.A roadside bomb exploded at the local market in downtown Baquba near a dentists’ clinic. Two people were killed, and eight others were injured
#2: A mortar round killed a woman and wounded three people, including a child, when it landed on a house in a village just east of Baquba, police said.
Nassiriya:#1: Three rockets wounded two U.S. soldiers when they landed on their base in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.
Basra:#1: Gunmen killed an off-duty police officer near his home in Dair neighbourhood in north Basra, 420 km (260 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
Afghanistan:#1: Afghan and NATO officials say a bomb attack against a convoy of international troops has wounded four soldiers and four Afghans in eastern Afghanistan. Maj. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force, confirmed the soldiers were wounded in Saturday's attack. He says it's not yet clear whether it was an improvised explosive device or a suicide car bomb. Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary says the blast in the eastern city of Jalalabad wounded four Afghans and damaged five civilian vehicles. Bashary said the attack was a suicide car bomb.
#2: An Afghan district governor for Mezan district in southern Zabul and his bodyguard were killed by unknown gunmen in Qalat, the provincial capital on Friday night, police official Abdul Matin said. He said Mohammad Younus, the district governor, was shot dead in front of his house, adding that they had started a search operation to track down the assailants, reported dpa.
#3: Canadian troops have swept through a volatile district west of Kandahar in an operation designed to ferret out nests of insurgents. The four-day swing, code-named Operation Rolling Thunder, was conducted alongside Afghan government forces. The operation saw several firefights in Zhari district, long a hotbed of Taliban activity. No Canadian casualties were reported Friday by military officials who released information about the operation. An unknown number of militants were believed killed in the operation.
#4: Unknown gunmen on Friday shot dead two local tribesmen in Shar-i-Nau area of neighbouring Afghanistan`s Paktia province. Sources said the two men identified as Syed Muhammad Ibrahim and Gulab Hussain were on way to their hometown Parachinar when armed assailants intercepted their vehicle in Shar-i-Nau area of Paktia.
#5: One Afghan soldier was killed and two others wounded when they came under fire from insurgents at a military checkpoint on Friday in Sangin District in the southern province of Helmand, the defence ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 1:11 PM
There are few more important stories we have ever posted on this blog than this one. It shows how the Bush administration manipulated the Pentagon into a massive complex with tentacles stretching not only into Iraq and Afghanistan, but around the world.
This is a MUST READ story for all who wonder what is going to happen after the next President takes office.
DISPATCHES FROM AMERICA
How the Pentagon shapes the world
By Frida Berrigan
A full-fledged cottage industry is already focused on those who eagerly await the end of the George W Bush administration, offering calendars, magnets and t-shirts for sale as well as counters and graphics to download onto blogs and websites. But when the countdown ends and Bush vacates the Oval Office, he will leave a legacy to contend with.
Certainly, he wills to his successor a world marred by war and battered by deprivation, but perhaps his most enduring legacy is now deeply embedded in Washington-area politics - a Pentagon metastasized almost beyond recognition.
The Pentagon's massive bulk-up these past seven years will not be easily unbuilt, no matter who dons the presidential mantle on January 19, 2009. "The Pentagon" is now so much more than a five-sided building across the Potomac from Washington or even the seat of the Department of Defense. In many ways, it defies description or labeling.
Click on link to read this fascinating story http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JE31Df04.html
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 8:56 AM
IED blast leaves 10 casualties in Baaquba
Diala - Voices of Iraq
Saturday , 31 /05 /2008 Time 4:10:24
Diala, May 31, (VOI) – Three civilians were killed and seven others wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near a passenger mini-bus in central Baaquba on Saturday, police said.
"An IED blast targeted a mini-bus near a terminal in central Baaquba, leaving three civilian passengers killed and seven others wounded," a source from Diala police, who asked not to have his name revealed, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).Baaquba, the capital of Diala province, lies 57 km northeast of Baghdad.
Posted by Bill Corcoran at 8:27 AM