48 Dead in Guerrilla Violence
Suicide Bombing in Khalis Targets Iraqi Troops
Knight Ridder reports that a suicide bomber in an Iraqi army uniform detonated his bomb belt in the midst of Iraqi soldiers eating lunch in Khalis north of Baghdad, killing at least 26 persons [AFP] and wounding 29. Early details were confused and conflicting. AFP reported that wounded soldiers said that the bomber had been a member of their unit and detonated the bomb in an on-base mess hall. Knight Ridder knows that narrative but reports an alternative one, that the soldiers were eating in a restaurant off base and that the bomber was wearing civilian clothes.
Wire services reported conflicting accounts of the fate of two counter-terrorism police from Kirkuk. AFP said that they were visiting Khalis and were shot by guerrillas while driving in their car. Knight Ridder says they were kidnapped in Kirkuk itself.
Knight Ridder adds,
“In Baghdad, 10 people were killed when a suicide attacker drove a car bomb into two squad cars. Dozens of bystanders were wounded, and several nearby civilian vehicles were burned. Five Iraqis were killed and eight others were injured when three errant mortar shells landed in a Baghdad kebab restaurant Wednesday. In the western end of the capital, one civilian was killed and six police officers were injured in a gun battle with insurgents.”
In Telafar in the Turkmen north, Iraqi government forces battled guerrillas, in clashes that left two policemen and 5 other persons dead.
The NYT says that US troops keep taking the northern border town of Telafar and then losing it againt to the guerrilla movement. Telafar is largely Turkmen, and most of the Turkmen there are Shiites of some sort. But some are radical Sunnis, and foreign fighters, especially Syrians, find it easy to get to Telafar from Syria.
Spain announced that it had busted up and arrested members of a terrorist group that recruited young Muslim men in Europe to go as fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq. The Spanish say the group was linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s network and to Ansar al-Islam.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat/ AFP report that the governing council of Karbala province has fired the police chief of the holy city of Karbala for “misusing his office.” Col. Abbas Fadil Abbud al-Hasani was also said to have fallen short in the performance of his duties.
His interim successor is Razzaq Abd `Ali.
Al-Hasani expressed perplexity at the decision. He denied that there had been any security lapses with regard to the religious pilgrims who come to Karbala in the hundreds of thousands.
The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq controls most of the southern provincial governments and has gradually been putting its own men in power.
The Los Angeles Times profiles the leaked British cabinet memos that detail the decision-making that led to the Iraq war. Reporter John Daniszewski certainly makes a good case.
Australian hostage Douglas Wood was found and freed. I know people who know him, and can’t say how happy and relieved I am that he is safe.