Mullen Rattles Sabres at Iran; Muqtada Reaffirms Truce

Another US soldier was killed on Thursday.

Guerrillas blew up an oil pipeline from a refinery south of Baghdad on Friday. Iraqi oil production has declined somewhat lately, according to this report.

Adm. Michael Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sharpened his rhetoric against Iran on Friday. Mullen appeared earlier to want to put the brakes on the Cheney war machine. Is he weakening?

Muqtada al-Sadr explained in his Friday sermon yesterday that the truce of his Mahdi Army militia with the Iraqi military should be maintained. His recent threat of open warfare, he said, concerned only the US military in Iraq. He called the Iraqi troops “brothers.”

Muqtada is offering an olive branch to his former ally turned deadly foe, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Al-Maliki seems in no mood to accept it.

First the Pentagon said that the Iraqi Army needed to be 390,000 strong. Now it says Iraq needs 646,000 troops. A new audit suggests that the Pentagon has substantially over-estimated how many trained Iraqi troops the al-Maliki government has.

Iraqis speak to the US Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

The US military was criticized by Iraqis for killing innocent persons in a bombing raid on Sadr City.

Reuters reports political violence for Friday:

‘ * BAGHDAD – The U.S. military said on Friday it had killed 10 fighters in helicopter missile strikes and ground battles in eastern Baghdad overnight.

* BAGHDAD – The U.S. army said on Friday that a U.S. soldier was killed by a road side bomb south of Baghdad on Thursday.

* HILLA – Gunmen shot dead a man near his house overnight in Iskandariya town, 40km (25 miles) south of Baghdad and police said they arrested six people in connection with the attack.

* MOSUL – Gunmen shot dead a fisherman and wounded another while they were fishing overnight on the Tigris river where it runs through northwestern Mosul, 390km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said.

* MOSUL – A roadside bomb wounded a civilian in Tal Afar, 420 km ( 260 miles) north of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said.

* BASRA – Gunmen shot dead a news broadcaster working for al-Nakheel TV and Radio station run by a Shi’ite faction in the Qurna area, 80km northern Basra, the station’s director Adnan al-Yasiri said.

* HILLA – US and Iraqi forces conducted a joint operation and arrested six people on Thursday in the Mahwaeel area, 75km (45 miles) south of Baghdad, arresting two suspects after gunmen shot and wounded an Iraqi policeman, police said.

* FALLUJA – A bomb implanted beneath a Friday prayers preacher’s seat exploded in al-Raqeeb mosque in al-Julan area, northwestern Falluja, 50km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, wounding 4 people including two policemen, police said.

* ISKANDARIYA – Gunmen killed two people in al-Qariya al- Asriya in Iskandariya town, 40km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

* YUSUFIYA – A roadside bomb killed a civilian and wounded another in Yusufiya town, 15km (9 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military said on Friday it killed two gunmen and detained 18 suspects during operations targeting al-Qaeda in central Iraq on Wednesday.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb exploded in Adhamiya neighbourhood, northern Baghdad, on Thursday night, wounding three people, police said.

BAGHDAD – Iraqi police found three bodies on Thursday overnight in different areas of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Iraqi police found two bodies in Mosul, one of them was beheaded, on Thursday, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen shot dead a policeman in western Mosul, police said. ‘

McClatchy has late news from Thursday evening:

‘ Baghdad

– Thursday night, The American planes bombed the Husseiniya neighborhood (north Baghdad) .Two people were killed and 8 others were injured.

– The American army bombed Sadr city around 11 pm and 1 am .Iraqi army said 11 people were killed and 32 others were injured.

– Around 4pm, five gunmen riding a Kia mini bus opened fire on an Iraqi check point when they tried to stop them. Three Iraqi soldiers were injured .Then, the Iraqi army killed those gunmen when the soldiers in the check point opened fire on them .The gunmen’s car exploded at once as it was carrying roadside bombs and rockets .

– Police found two dead bodies in west Baghdad (Karkh bank): 1 in Saidiyah and 1 in Bayaa.

Diyala

– Around 9:30 pm, gunmen attacked an Iraqi army patrol at Al-Wajihiyah (20 km east of Baquba).One officer was killed and three soldiers were injured in that incident.

Kirkuk

– Thursday night, Iraqi army soldiers wounded a gunman who was planting a roadside bomb at Safra village of Riadh (west of Kirkuk).Then, the Iraq squad defused the bomb and the gunman ran away .

– Thursday , a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol at Al-Utheim (south Kirkuk).One officer was killed in that incident .Another roadside bomb targeted another patrol in the same area with no casualties recorded.

– Thursday, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Hajaj neighborhood in Kirkuk city. One policeman was injured with a civilian who was at the site of the incident.

Salahuddin

– Around noon, an officer was killed by a bomb planted in his car while he was about to start the car’s engine inside the police Academy in Tikrit.

– In the afternoon, American planes bombed a site at Jalam (25 km north east of Samarra ) killing four gunmen of Qaeda members including a Saudi Arabian leader in that location, police said .

Anbar

– Around 11:30 am, a bomb planted under a chair in Al-Raqeeb mosque at Al-Jewlan neighborhood in downtown Falluja .The target was the orator Khalid Himoud who replaced the former orator who was killed 9 months ago. The orator survived ,but one person was killed with four others injured. ‘

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