Airstrike on Fallujah Leaves 14 Dead
Bombing in Tikrit, Kidnappings in Kirkuk
AP reports that 14 died and 7 were wounded in an American airstrike on an Al-Tawhid facility in Fallujah that was supporting a trench line for radical Sunni fighters. Al-Tawhid has vowed to assassinate Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and has put a bounty on his head, and Allawi pointedly announced that he had authorized the airstrike. Local Fallujans maintained that those killed were civilians working in support of the Fallujah Brigade, the force that supplies security to the city. Meanwhile, Allawi left for Amman, Jordan, for his first consultations as PM outside Iraq with foreign leaders friendly to his regime.
In Tikrit, guerrillas detonated two car bombs in an attack on a police checkpoint. They killed two policemen and wounded five others.
Az-Zaman: Kurdish and Arab security officials in Kirkuk appear to be engaged in a dangerous game of kidnapping each other’s children or allies. The son of the deputy commander of the National Guards in Kirkuk, Gen. Jasim Khalil, who is an Arab, was kidnapped. Then the son of Abdul Karim Barzinji, the Kurdish labor leader, was kidnapped. Another Kurdish man, who is involved in guarding the oil pipes in southern Kirkuk, was also kidnapped. This happened just before Hassan al-Ubaydi, an Arab former employee of the Iraqi secret police, was taken hostage. Ethnic tensions remain high in the oil city of Kirkuk, with its potential vast wealth and nearly 1 million inhabitants, divided among Turkmen, Arabs and Kurds.