Iraq Report: More on Tal Afar, Baghdad and Ramadi operations and something in Sadr City
The toll from Tuesday's suicide attack in the northern city of Tal Afar has risen to 152 killed and 347 wounded. This is the single most deadly suicide attack in Iraq since al Qaeda started its suicide campaign inside Iraq in the summer of 2003. Over 100 homes were destroyed in the Tal Afar attack. Fourth-seven were were killed in the reprisal killings by militia and off duty policemen, not the 70 initially reported. The Niwena provincial government has re-arrested the policemen involved in the attacks. A representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani warned the Tal Afar bombings could lead to a civil war, and condemned the attacks on civilians nationwide.
Inside Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi security forces have detained 212 suspects during operations over the past 48 hours, according to the Kuwaiti News Agency. Twelve Iraqi police were reported killed and 19 wounded during the time period. Nationwide, U.S. forces captured 16 al Qaeda during raids in Arab Jabour, Mosul and Fallujah. The Arab Jabour raid also netted a DShK anti-aircraft machine gun.
The Iraqi Army and U.S. Marines just completed a clearing operation in central Ramadi, in an area known as the "Heart of Darkness." A five day combined assault and civil affairs operation paved the way for a Marine and Iraqi Army battalion to secure the neighborhood, and further isolate al Qaeda in the city.
In Sadr City, al Qaeda conducted a successful car bombing. Five were killed and 15 wounded when a car bomb was detonated outside a hospital in Sadr City. The rumor from Sadr City concerning raids and civilian death have been flying the past 24 hours, but so far none have been substantiated.
Arab news outlets are claiming the U.S. military conducted air strikes against Muqtada al Sadr's supporters inside Sadr City, killing 16 and wounding another 14. The report originated from al-Iraqiya television. Multinational Forces Iraq denied any involvement, and issued a terse, one sentence statement to this effect. "Despite reports from individuals and some media organizations Coalition forces were not involved in air strikes over Sadr city on Friday."
Another report claimed U.S. forces conducted a raid against a Sadr City in Hurriya, which resulted in the death of a young girl. This report originated from Voice of Iraq, which last weekend issued a claim that an attack in Rutbah killed several American servicemen, which later proved false.