Turkey Hits 70 Sites in Iraq; US Accidentally Kills 13; Sistani Aides Kidapped in Basra

The Turkish air force bombed 70 targets inside Iraq in Kurdistan, which they allege are bases for the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group. The PKK has killed scores of Turks in recent months, before retreating to safe haven in Iraq.

The US military on Monday mistakenly bombed a home in Iskandariya south of Baghdad, killing 13 persons including women and a child, according to Iraq police. They blamed indirect and faulty communication with the local Awakening Council. There will be more outrage about this incident in Iraq than will be reported in the US press.

Iraq faces severe wheat shortages in 2008. Oh, great, that’s what they really need on top of everything else.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that in the negotiations over a status of forces agreement between Iraq and the US, the Iraqis are demanding a guarantee that the US will never attack a neighbor of Iraq from Iraqi soil. (I don’t think that was what Cheney was going for).

Bush presented a phony budget to Congress for $3.1 trillion, which contains an unrealistically low estimate for spending on Iraq and Afghanistan of $70 bn. The Democrats denounced it and even Republicans complained about the fudging of budget numbers for the Iraq War.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq for Monday:

‘ Baghdad

- Around 8 a.m., a roadside bomb exploded at Hurriyah neighborhood. Two civilians were injured in this incident.

- Around 9:30 a.m., gunmen assassinated Waleed Haitham Idrees, an employee of the ministry of foreign affairs, in Mansour neighborhood ( west Baghdad ) near the Ameerat intersection.

- Around 10 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in the Jisr Diyala neighborhood. Two policemen were injured in that incident with some damage to their vehicle.

- At noon, an IED targeted a U.S. patrol at Zayouna neighborhood near the Thulatha shopping center (east Baghdad). No casualties were reported.

- Police found two unidentified dead bodies in Baghdad today . . .

Diyala

- Around noon, gunmen opened fire on a civilian mini bus near Abu Saida intersection (20 km east of Baquba) . The driver was killed along with a 7-year-old girl. Her 4-year-old brother was injured.

- Around 4 p.m., gunmen broke into one of the houses at Tahreer neighborhood in Baquba city kidnapping the owner. His body was found in the area an hour after the kidnapping.

Basra

- Around 9:30 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Al-Maqal neighborhood (north Basra). No casualties recorded, but some damage to the police vehicle.

- Around 4:30 p.m., gunmen kidnapped two cleric[s,] men who represent Ayyat Allah Imam Ali Sistani in Basra city. Those two men are Ali Hassan Al-Khafaji, Imam of Al-Mudhafar mosque, and Abdul Rahman Al-Idreesi, the lecturer of Imam Abass school in Basra city, who were riding in a car in the Tuayssa neighborhood near Lebanon casino in downtown Basra when the gunmen kidnapped them. An hour later, kidnappers called for a ransom of $100,000. ‘

This last item is a testimony to the real state of security in Basra, and has the potential for spiraling into yet more violence.

Reuters adds:

‘ MOSUL – Gunmen killed three policemen in two separate drive-by shootings in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

* KIRKUK – A roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol wounded two civilians in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

SALMAN PAK – Iraqi and U.S. forces killed seven gunmen, wounded another one and arrested 28 suspects during air assaults targeting al Qaeda near Salman Pak, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. . . ‘