As Baghdad residents prepare for new security measures they
hope will reduce the capital's chaotic violence, attacks continued
elsewhere in the country. Officials say a suicide truck bombing in Tikrit
Sunday killed at least 15 people, and eight border guard recruits were
reported gunned down near the Syrian border. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports
from northern Iraq.
U.S. and Iraqi forces in Baghdad are increasing joint patrols, and
setting up new checkpoints, but Iraqi officials say the city's new
security operation still has not been fully implemented. Iraq's Kurdish
president, Jalal Talabani, and its Shi'ite prime minister, Nouri al
Maliki, told reporters that the security plan will be applied equally
across the capital city's religiously divided neighborhoods. Prime
Minister Maliki dismissed news reports that the plan had already started
in one predominantly Sunni neighborhood.
He says, "It will never start from one neighborhood - it will start for
all of Baghdad at the same time." He says, "Do not listen to those who say
that it started from this or that kind of neighborhood."
As part of the increased security, the U.S. military reported that
Iraqi and U.S. forces conducted 7,400 patrols in Baghdad this week,
uncovering 14 weapons stockpiles and detaining about 140 suspected
insurgents. U.S. officials also reported they continue to build fortified
combat outposts in the middle of Baghdad's most violent neighborhoods.
Outside Baghdad, Iraqi police say they plan to increase checkpoints to
stop insurgents who may flee the city's security crackdown. Sherkou
Shakir, a police commander in Kirkuk, 250 kilometers north of Baghdad,
says his forces plan to guard the highway from Baghdad.
He says, "all of us together support this plan to face these armed
groups." Iraqis forced to flee sectarian violence in their Baghdad
neighborhoods are hoping that the operation will help them return. This
Shi'ite woman said she left Baghdad after insurgents came to her home and
She says, "I hope to go back home and to see my neighbors, who I have
known for a long time. I pray that the plan will help all families go back
home in peace."
Meanwhile, at a news briefing in Baghdad, a senior U.S. defense
official, who spoke with reporters on condition his name not be used, said
increasingly sophisticated bombs were sent to Iraqi extremists from Iran.
He said intelligence analysts believe the weapons are manufactured in Iran
and smuggled into Iraq on
orders from the Iranian government. He did not elaborate.