Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2 US soldiers announced dead, hostages taken in Baquba

CNN and AP both report that the US military has announced 2 US soldiers were killed yesterday. Other than stating the deaths took place in southern Iraq, the military had nothing else to say. Were there any wounded? As we noted yesterday they appear to be under orders to no longer note when soldiers are injured. The 2 deaths announced this morning follow last week's 6 deaths (5 on Monday, 1 on Wednesday). Last week, on Monday, ABC's World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer didn't have time to note 5 US soldiers died. It'll be interesting to see if the program makes time to note the 2 deaths.

In other violence, Xiong Tong (Xinhua) reports, "Car bomb and gunfire attacks were reported at government compound in Baquba City, the capital of Iraq's eastern province of Diyala on Tuesday, local police told Xinhua." Ali al-Tuwaijri (AFP) adds that the invasion of the government offices "mirrored a similar March raid claimed by Al-Qaeda" and that "dozens of gunmen involved in the attack [today] in Diyala's provincial capital of Baquba exchanged gunfire with Iraqi security forces, holding them at bay." AP reports that there are possibly as many as 10 assailants in the government compound holding hostages and quotes Nasreen Bajhat stating, "I am trying to call my colleagues and employees in the building but all their mobiles are switched off. The situation now is tense." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that when security arrived, assailants took cover in the government building and that there are thought to be at least twenty-five people injured. Aswat al-Iraq reports, " A joint Iraqi-U.S. force have implemented the operation of cornering the attackers against Diala Council’s building and liberating the persons, taken hostage by the attackers, who were disguised as uniformed policemen, a Diala police source said on Tuesday."

In other news, Dar Addustour reports that a man in Mosul yesterday attempted to set himself on fire before the Nineveh Provincial government offices but police stopped him -- the man is a security guard, he used kerosene in his attempt and he stated he attempted to set himself on fire because he works for the government but someone else got selected ahead of him to become a permanent staff member.

Dar Addustour also notes
that Parliament is meeting today and among the items on the agenda are the second reading of an anti-smoking bill. Really? The country has no Minister of the Interior, no Minister of Defense and no Minister of National Security. When Nouri was named prime minister-designate in November, per the Constitution, he had 30 days to fill his Cabinet or lose the post of prime minister-designate. Instead of following the Constitution, the Parliament moved Nouri on over to prime minister. All this time later, Nouri's still not filled those three Cabinet positions. And, you may have noticed, violence just keeps increasing in Iraq. Not the best time for all three of your security ministries to remain without a leader.

Quickly, Jalal Talabani and Moqtada al-Sadr are reportedly talking. Nouri insists he's fine with Ayad Allawi questioning him before Parliament.

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