Camilla Hall (Bloomberg News) notes: " Two bombs exploded in Baghdad markets, killing at least 43 people and wounding 85 others, Agence France- Presse reported, citing Iraqi security and medical officials. " BBC says it's over 50 and has a photo essay of the blasts. Bloomberg's Hall refiles with the number at 53 and citing "female suicide bombers" (two). CNN says 53 as well with 94 injured with one area being a bird market and claiming 8 lives with fourteen wounded and the other being an animal market and claiming 45 lives with eighty wounded. The death toll will probably rise throughout the morning (AP says 64 right now).
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports:
Both markets are surrounded by concrete barriers to bar cars from entering, but with no one to search women at the entrance and exit checkpoints, the female bombers were able to slip in with explosive vests hidden under flowing coats, police said.
By Friday afternoon, U.S. and Iraqi military had surrounded the markets and were questioning witnesses, as people cleaned pools of blood from the pavement and swept up dead birds and destroyed pet carriers.
But Bully Boy's been preaching 'win' and we're all supposed to be repeating the lie that the escalatin is 'working' and 'accomplishing' something.
At McClatchy Newspapers, Nancy A. Youssef contributes "U.S. casualties rise in Iraq after falling for 4 months:"
The U.S. death toll in Iraq increased in January, ending a four-month drop in casualties, and most of the deaths occurred outside Baghdad or the once-restive Anbar province, according to military statistics.
In all, 38 American service members had been reported killed in January by Thursday evening, compared with 23 in December. Of those, 33 died from hostile action, but only nine of them in Baghdad or Anbar.
A total of 3,942 American service members have been killed in Iraq as of Thursday, according to icasualties.org, an independent Web site that tracks the statistics.
After Youssef filed, the number would be 39. And of course this is the first day of the month and more January deaths may be announced slowly (as is the pattern).
Martha notes Michael Abramowitz' "Bush Signals Troop Level May Stay Stable" (Washington Post):
President Bush asserted Thursday that he would not be pressured into making further troop cuts in Iraq beyond the five combat brigades already scheduled to come home by the middle of the summer.
[. . .]
The comments were the latest indication from the administration that it may keep the number of troops in Iraq at roughly the same level they were before last year's buildup of U.S. forces, possibly through the end of Bush's presidency. Under existing plans, the levels are gradually falling about 5,000 troops a month, from roughly 160,000 to 130,000 by July -- or approximately where they stood before Bush sent reinforcements to Iraq seeking to curtail spiraling sectarian violence.
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nancy a. youssef
the washington post