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IRAQ: A typically low-key day of violence

March 9, 2008 |  5:29 pm

Tikrit

Incidents of violence have decreased 60% in Iraq since the peak of the sectarian conflict a year ago. But violence still persists, especially in parts of Iraq's Sunni Arab north.

On Sunday, a car bomb targeting a passing Iraqi Army patrol in Mosul killed two civilians and injured five. And a roadside bomb in downtown Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, killed two police officers and injured two.

U.S.-led coalition forces were also the move. They killed five suspected Sunni Arab extremists and captured 49 by the end of two days of operations in the vicinities of Samarra, Mosul, Balad and Taji.

At one point in Mosul they encountered an insurgent with a suicide vest. The soldiers ran! The bomber blew himself up without harming U.S. forces, according to a news release.

U.S. and Iraqi forces seized a bounty of goodies in the raids: military-style assault vests, machine guns, rockets, grenades ammunition, bomb-making materials including ball-bearings and detonators and medical supplies.

Here are some of the security and political incidents that took place across the rest of the country on Sunday, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials:

  • Police found the bullet-riddled bodies of three men around Baghdad.
  • A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol in east Baghdad injured three civilians.
  • Police in the southern city of Diwaniya arrested a leader of cleric Muqtada Sadr’s movement and three supporters.
  • U.S. and Iraqi forces sealed off entrances to Baghdad’s Sadr City for several hours while conducting a search operation.
  • Protesters demonstrated outside the Kirkuk provincial governor’s headquarters, demanding a referendum on the status of city and surrounding areas, which are claimed by Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.

— Baghdad Bureau

Photo: An Iraqi soldier stands guard as a pipeline burns in the background after an explosion 20 miles northeast of Tikrit. / AP Photo/Bassem Daham

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