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April 3, 2008
Thursday: 1 US Airman, 47 Iraqis Killed; 78 Iraqis Wounded

Updated at 12:35 a.m. EDT, April 5, 2008

At least 47 Iraqis were killed and 78 more were wounded in the latest violence. A U.S. airman was killed in an IED attack as well. Seven likely Arab nationals were also killed in Tikrit. In Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues his attacks against Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's followers, threatening a cease fire imposed after clashes left hundreds dead and al-Maliki's government weakened.

Prime Minister al-Maliki continues to verbally attack the cleric's followers, threatening a fragile truce between his government and political rival Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Last week, al-Maliki implemented a "security crackdown" in Basra that appeared to be an operation actually aimed against the Mahdi Army alone. This resulted in clashes throughout the southern provinces and ended in an embarrassing failure for the al-Maliki government. This week he singled out Mahdi strongholds other cities--where U.S. forces would be able to lend significant support--for similar crackdowns.

The Mahdi Army had been observing a 7-month long unilateral truce at the time of the battles. Analysts believe the operation was meant to demolish the cleric's political base before October elections. Also, the Iraqi authorities dropped leaflets on Basra, calling for citizens to support them against militia groups.

Meanwhile, al-Sadr has called on Iraqis to descend on the holy city of Najaf for a peaceful million-strong march against the U.S. occupation. The Iraqi government has pledged not to interfere unless it becomes violent.

In Basra, a U.S. airstrike left as many as three dead and six others wounded, according to police. U.S. forces claim they only killed two gunmen, but pictures of a woman's body have surfaced. Near the city in al-Maqal, Iraqi security forces detained the head of the Thaar al-Allah Shi'ite religious party.

In Baghdad, two dumped bodies were recovered. A car bomb killed three people and wounded ten more in the Harthiya district. One Iraqi soldier was killed and three more were wounded in Yarmouk when their patrol was blasted by a roadside bomb. In Qahtan Square, two people were wounded during a roadside bomb blast. A traffic policeman was wounded during a bomb blast in western Baghdad. Four street sweepers were wounded when they came across an IED on Sinaa Street. U.S. troops killed a man planting a bomb and wounded another who was helping him; they also killed a woman who was used as a human shield. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and seven were wounded during operations that netted 11 suspects. Also, a bomb blasted a U.S. patrol in Bayaa, but no casualties were as yet reported.

Five policemen were killed during a roadside bombing near the al-Askariya shrine in Samarra. East of the city, U.S. forces killed four suspects.

In Mosul, a suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint, killing about five people, including a woman and five-year-old child, and injuring as many as 19 others. Eight were injured during a roadside bombing. U.S. forces captured six suspects.

U.S. forces came under attack while conducting an arrest operation in Hilla. An airstrike was called in after the operation turned into a clash. Six people were killed, including four policemen, and 15 others were wounded. The dead and wounded may all have been Iraqi security forces and not enemy combatants.

In Mahmudiya, a roadside bomb blasted an Awakening Council (Sahwa) patrol, killing one member and injuring two others.

A high-value al-Qaeda leader was captured in Salman Pak.

U.S. forces killed six suspects and detained nine more across Iraq.

In Tikrit, U.S. forces killed 11 suspects. Seven of them were carrying Arab passports.

A weapons stockpile was discovered near Arbil.

Eight wanted men were detained near Kirkuk. On the highway to Baghdad, gunmen killed a civilian. A police officer was killed in the city.

 

Compiled by Margaret Griffis

 
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