Wire: Worst Violence Since US Pullback Hits Iraq
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported that bombs killed more than 50 people in Iraq on Thursday in the worst violence since U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas last week, and American forces released five Iranian officials suspected of aiding Shiite insurgents.
The Associated Press reported that U.S. officials said they believe the Iranians, detained in northern Iraq in January 2007, had facilitated attacks on American-led forces but handed them over to the Iraqi government at its request because they were obliged to do so under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement.
The carnage within Iraqi borders Thursday was a sign that insurgents remain intent on destabilizing Iraq as the United States shifts its focus to the war in Afghanistan. Attacks are down sharply from past years of war and militants have been driven from many strongholds, but they routinely inflict casualties in Baghdad and northern Iraq, a cauldron of ethnic and sectarian tension, AP said.
The most lethal attack Thursday was in the northern city of Tal Afar.
Insurgents also struck Baghdad on Thursday morning, detonating roadside bombs that killed 13 people and injured dozens. Eight of them died and 30 were injured in coordinated blasts near an outdoor market in the Shiite district of Sadr City, said Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Mousawi, spokesman for the city's operations command center.
Yesterday, car bombs in two Shiite villages near Mosul, another northern Iraqi city, killed 16 civilians and injured more than two dozen.
Also Thursday, the U.S. military said it was investigating the death of a U.S. soldier who had been found "unresponsive" on a military base.
(Report from newswire sources.)
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