16 Killed, 144 Wounded in Iraq Violence
az-Zaman estimates that 16 persons died in bombings and attacks on Tuesday, and 144 were wounded. Among the dead was a US soldier in Baquba and another in Anbar province. The bombings and attacks took place in Baquba (reported here yesterday), Mosul and Kirkuk. AP’s estimates were somewhat lower but still depressing.
Ukrainian troops reported capturing cars full of 40 Iranian irregulars trying to sneak in to Iraq to join the Mahdi Army and defend the holy sites in Najaf and Karbala from the Americans. Ayatollah Jannati had called for such direct action recently. For the moment I am taking this report with a grain of salt, since previous sightings of Iranian infiltrators have often been proven inaccurate later on. It is not as if the Ukrainians can tell Persian from Arabic. But if it is true, it shows how wrong-headed the US was to conduct military operations in downtown Najaf and Karbala, an action guaranteed to stir up Shiites against the US.
Another bombing of the Kirkuk pipeline to Turkey hurt Iraq’s oil exports.
Saboteurs are hitting power plants, according to the NYT, in hopes of destabilizing the caretaker government.