Monday, October 29, 2007

Other Items

At least 24 Iraqi police officers and police recruits were killed when a suicide bomber riding on a bicycle exploded at an Iraqi police base in central Baquba Monday morning, an Interior Ministry official said.
The blast also wounded 17 people, the official said.
Local health officials put the death toll at 27. They also said a woman and child were among the wounded.
Baquba is the capital of the Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.
Two deadly car bombs exploded in Iraq on Sunday.
Six civilians were killed and 25 others wounded when a car bomb exploded near a bus stop in Kirkuk, local police said.
The bomb detonated about 2:45 p.m. local time in al-Iskan, a commercial area of the northern Iraqi city.
The oil-rich city of Kirkuk is ethnically diverse, with large populations of Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen jockeying for power.

CNN on some of the violence today and yesterday. Ross Colvin (Reuters) reports the death toll from the Baquba bombing has already risen to 28 Iraqi police officers or recruits. CBS and AP report the following on the Baquba bombing:

Mohammed al-Kirrawi, a doctor at the Baqouba general hospital, said most of the victims were struck by iron balls packed with the explosives to achieve maximum casualties. He said the hospital lacked the necessary equipment to save many of the wounded.
"Among the wounded, there are seven in critical conditions and there is little hope that they will survive," he said.
Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, is the capital of Diyala province, where hundreds of Sunni Arab tribesmen and insurgents have in recent months joined the U.S. and Iraqi forces in the fight against al Qaeda. A 22-year-old Sunni man from Baqouba's central Tahrir area said he was among a group of some 60 recruits when the blast struck.
Akram Salman said it must have been an inside job because the suicide bomber apparently was able to penetrate heavy security surrounding the police camp without being searched. He said police failed to stop the bomber when he changed course suddenly from the main road toward the recruits.
"The police are infiltrated. Many people join the police but they have affiliations with al Qaeda. These infiltrators made it easy for the bomber to attack us," he said. "There are two main checkpoints on the main road leading to the camp, it would be impossible for a man on a bicycle to pass without being properly searched."

In addition, Reuters reports a police officer has been shot dead in Falluja and a Siniya car bombing has claimed 4 lives with eleven more people wounded.

Yesterday a kidnapping targeting officials (shieks in this case) working with the US. Amit R. Paley's "11 Shiite, Sunni leaders kidnapped in Iraq" (Washington Post via San Jose Mercury News):

Eleven tribal leaders who had banded with U.S. soldiers to fight the Sunni insurgent group Al-Qaida in Iraq were kidnapped Sunday morning, the latest in a string of such attacks, fellow tribesmen said.
The Shiite and Sunni sheiks, members of the Al-Salam Support Council, a group fighting Al-Qaida in Iraq in volatile Diyala province, were taken from their cars by gunmen as they returned home from a meeting in Baghdad with a government official, the tribesmen said.
Hadi al-Anbaki, a spokesman for the mostly Shiite council, said the attack was carried out by the Mahdi Army, a militia controlled by the anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. "This was an ambush," Anbaki said.
The kidnapping highlighted the complex and quickly shifting nature of the bloodshed convulsing Iraq, with Shiite and Sunni groups increasingly targeting members of their own sects who align themselves with U.S. forces.

Camilla Hall (Bloomberg News) notes, "Ten Sunni and Shiite Muslim tribal sheikhs were seized on Oct. 27 as they returned to Diyala from a meeting in Baghdad to discuss combating al-Qaeda." As noted last night, the corpse of Mishaan Hilan has already been discovered. He was one of the eleven meaning that ten remain kidnapped.

Meanwhile Paul Bibby (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that Andrew Wilkie ("former Australian intelligence officer turned Greens candidate" and "former Lieutenant-Colonel") has stated the death of two Australian soldiers in Afghanistan (Matthew Locke last week and David Pearce earlier in the month) should not have happened, that they "died unnecessarily because we should not have still been there" and he pins the reason Australian troops are still in Afghanistan on the US led illegal war in Iraq. Wilkie: "We would not have been in Afghanistan now if we had finished the job back when we could have finished the job in 2002. But because we were distracted by Iraq we really drew down on our forces in Afghanistan to go to Iraq. That allowed the anti-Government forces, primarily the Taliban, to be the serious threat that they are. Those two diggers died unnecessarily."

Australia holds national elections Saturday, November 24th. Bully Boy athletic cup holder John Howard may or may not remain as prime minister.

Australia's Herald-Sun reports that Wilkie's running mate, Bob Brown has made similar comments -- Brown: "That said, we ought not be in Afghanistan because the Bush administration backed by John Howard made a huge strategic error there at the start of this decade when they withdrew troops from Afghanistan, having taken over the country, got rid of the Taliban and went to the invasion of Iraq."

Meanwhile David Humphries (Syndey Morning Herald) reports that those in active duty service are leaning towards voting Labor in the election. Who will be left to vote for John Howard? (Howard is in the -- don't let the name fool you -- Liberal Party of Australia.)