Updated at 11:00 p.m. EDT, June 19, 2008
Few casualties were reported
today in Iraq, but violations by security forces during an operation in a southern
city threaten to unravel a tenuous cease-fire and may bring heavy violence back
to the country. At least 14 Iraqis were killed and five more suffered injuries
across Iraq. No Coalition deaths were reported.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's
latest security operation
formally began in Amara today. Since the British handed over security to
local forces in April of last year, the southern city has been relatively quiet
compared to most of Iraq, but it is also a stronghold of al-Maliki's political
opponent, Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
A similar operation that began
last March in nearby Basra went awry when al-Sadr supporters fought back. Violence
quickly spread throughout southern Iraq and into Baghdad and hundreds of people
were killed. Many supporters, as well as Western analysts, believed that the security
crackdown was actually an attempt to undermine al-Sadr's political power ahead
of elections which will take place in October. The violence ended after negotiations
between the Sadrists and the central government led to a second cease-fire. Al-Sadr
originally called for one last summer and has ordered his followers to observe
it now despite the security operation.
In today's events in Amara,
17 people were detained.
Among them was a top Sadrist official who is also the mayor of the city and acting
deputy governor for Maysan province, of which Amara is the capital. A member of
the provincial council was also picked up. Sadrist officials say
that this violates the spirit of truce agreements and demonstrates deliberate
targeting of Sadrists. Other violations have been noted.
In Baghdad, two
dumped bodies were found. A bomb attached to a car killed
one man and wounded four others in Bayaa. Near Mustansiriya University,
a bomb failed
to leave any casualties. A bomb targeting a U.S. convoy in Waziriya damaged
a vehicle. Also, 18 people were arrested,
and 15 bombs were defused.
people, including a child, were killed when a U.S. vehicle struck their car
near Hilla. It is unclear whether the incident was accidental, but the
convoy in which the vehicle was traveling did not stop.
an off-duty policeman was shot
dead, but police were able to kill
one of the attackers. Gunmen opened fire on a couple leaving their home; the
was killed instantly, but her
husband was only wounded.
Police in Tuz Khormato discovered
a body bearing gunshot wounds
and torture marks.
of a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was found several hours
after he was kidnapped in Jalawla.
Twenty-one suspects were captured
across northern Iraq.
Two gunmen were detained
in Mahaweel, and their weapons were confiscated.
was arrested in Mussayab.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis