. Space Travel News .




.
IRAQ WARS
68 dead as Iraq bombs hit Shiites
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Jan 5, 2012

US condemns deadly attacks in Iraq
Washington (AFP) Jan 5, 2012 - The United States on Thursday condemned a deadly wave of attacks it said were aimed at turning "back the clock" in Iraq and stressed it was working to help end a political crisis in the country.

"With regard to this latest spate of terrorist violence, we condemn these acts. We consider them acts of terror," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"They are desperate attempts by the same kind of folk who have been active in Iraq trying to turn back the clock," Nuland added, referring to a period of sectarian strife in 2006 and 2007.

A wave of attacks against Shiite Muslims killed at least 68 people on Thursday, the worst toll in nearly five months, as Iraq grappled with a weeks-long political row that has stoked sectarian tensions.

The violence, which wounded more than 100, comes two weeks after a crisis erupted when the Shiite-led authorities charged Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with running a hit squad soon after US troops pulled out.

Nuland said US ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey and US Vice President Joe Biden meanwhile have been "active in encouraging Iraqi politicians to talk to each other, to meet" in order to resolve their political differences.

"We are quite encouraged that a number of Iraqi politicians are also calling for such a meeting, which we hope takes place soon," Nuland said.

The violence was the second major strike against Iraqis since a political crisis erupted last month. A wave of attacks on December 22 killed 67 people across the country.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has backed off from threats to fire ministers from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc who have boycotted the cabinet, the latest move in an apparent toning down of the crisis.

The stand-off was sparked by a decision to issue an arrest warrant for Hashemi on terror charges.

Hashemi, who is holed up in the northern autonomous Kurdish region, denies the charges.


A wave of attacks against Shiite Muslims killed at least 68 people on Thursday, the worst toll in nearly five months, as Iraq grappled with a weeks-long political row that has stoked sectarian tensions.

The violence, which wounded more than 100, comes two weeks after a crisis erupted when the Shiite-led authorities charged Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with running a hit squad soon after US troops pulled out.

The US and the European Union swiftly condemned the attacks.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington that: "We consider them acts of terror."

"They are desperate attempts by the same kind of folk who have been active in Iraq trying to turn back the clock," she added in reference to sectarian strife in 2006 and 2007.

The EU top diplomat Catherine Ashton deplored the "death and destruction caused by these acts of terrorism, which can only exacerbate an already fragile political situation."

Ashton, who is the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, called on all Iraqi political groups to engage in an "inclusive and genuine dialogue ... in order to address their differences".

Thursday's attacks, which targeted only Shiites, were also quickly condemned by Iraq's parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni, as well as by Iraq's Shiite-majority neighbour Iran and UN special envoy Martin Kobler.

Nujaifi and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki held talks in Baghdad in the aftermath of the attacks, amid calls for a meeting of political leaders to resolve the festering stand-off.

The worst incident saw at least 45 people killed by a suicide attacker on the outskirts of the southern city of Nasiriyah as pilgrims were walking to the shrine city of Karbala for Arbaeen commemorations.

"Hospitals in Nasiriyah have received 45 killed and 68 wounded," said Hadi Badr al-Riyahi, head of the provincial health department in Dhi Qar, of which Nasiriyah is the capital.

Arbaeen marks 40 days after the Ashura anniversary commemorating the killing of Imam Hussein, one of Shiite Islam's most revered figures, by the armies of the Caliph Yazid in 680 AD.

Five bombings also struck two Shiite neighbourhoods of northern Baghdad, killing 23 people and wounding dozens.

In Kadhimiyah, two car bombs exploded at around 9:00 am (0600 GMT) at adjoining intersections, said interior and defence ministry officials.

The blasts killed 14 people and wounded 37 others, the defence official said, while the interior ministry source put the toll at 15 dead and 31 wounded.

Several nearby vehicles, shops and the facade of a newly built hotel were badly damaged, an AFP journalist said.

"Where are the security forces?" shouted 60-year-old Ashur Abdullah at Al-Zahra intersection in Kadhimiyah.

"Where are the checkpoints? How did this happen here? The responsibility lies with the security forces."

In Sadr City, a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded at around 7:00 am near a group of day labourers waiting to pick up work, killing seven and wounding 20, the interior ministry official said.

A short time later, twin roadside bombs detonated near the district's main hospital as victims were being ferried in, killing two more people and wounding 15, the official said.

The defence ministry official confirmed the toll.

Security forces cordoned off the scenes of the blasts, and largely refused to allow journalists to enter, sparking the ire of residents.

"Why are you preventing the press and photographers from entering the scene?" shouted one man in Kadhimiyah who declined to be identified.

"Are you afraid that the world will see your failure?"

Thursday's death toll was the highest in Iraq since a spate of attacks on August 15, most of which were claimed by Al-Qaeda, left 74 people dead.

The violence was the second major strike against Iraqis since a political crisis erupted last month. On December 22, 67 people were killed across the country.

Maliki has backed off from threats to fire ministers from the Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc who have boycotted the cabinet, the latest move in an apparent toning down of the crisis.

The stand-off was sparked by a decision to issue an arrest warrant for Hashemi on terror charges.

Hashemi, who is holed up in the northern autonomous Kurdish region, denies the charges, and his Iraqiya party has boycotted the cabinet and stayed away when parliament reopened on Tuesday.

Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak, also a member of Iraqiya, has decried Maliki as a dictator "worse than Saddam Hussein," and the premier has called for him to be sacked.

UN envoy Kobler, in a statement on Wednesday, "expressed concern about the current political stalemate in the country," and US Vice President Joe Biden has urged dialogue among top Iraqi leaders.

On December 18, US forces completed their withdrawal from Iraq, where there were once nearly 170,000 American troops on 505 bases.

burs/srm/pvh

Related Links
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century




.
.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
...
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries




US Marine trial opens over 2005 Iraq killings
Camp Pendleton, California (AFP) Jan 5, 2012 - A lawyer for the last US Marine charged over a notorious killing of civilians in Iraq voiced confidence Thursday that he will be acquitted, as his court-martial got underway.

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, 31, faces nine counts of voluntary manslaughter and other charges for his role in the November 19, 2005 deaths of 24 civilians, many of them women and children, in the Iraqi town of Haditha.

The trial started with jury selection, which was delayed for at least two hours after a potential juror failed to turn up at the Camp Pendleton military base in California where Wuterich will be tried over the next month.

But Wuterich's lead lawyer, Neal Puckett, said he was confident his client will be exonerated.

"We're confident that the truth about Haditha will come out during the trial and that Staff Sergeant Wuterich will be acquitted of all charges," he told AFP ahead of the start of jury selection.

Wuterich, who had no previous combat experience, was the squad leader who sent his men into a village to hunt for insurgents following a roadside bombing that killed a fellow Marine and injured two other Marines.

Nineteen people were killed inside houses, along with five men who pulled up near the scene in a car, triggering one of the most controversial criminal cases involving the US military during the nearly nine-year-long Iraq war.

The Marines said after the violence in Haditha that 15 Iraqis had been killed by the roadside bomb that killed the Marine.

But a subsequent investigation by Time magazine showed most of the dead were killed as Marines swept through three houses near the site of the bombing.

Lawyers for the Marines said insurgents hid behind civilian homes and opened fire, sparking a shootout that would fall within legal rules of engagement.

But military prosecutors said there were no such insurgents and that the Marines initiated a bloody three-hour rampage to avenge the death of their comrade.

Among the victims, 10 were women or children, killed at point-blank range.

The other seven Marines charged in the case have been exonerated through various legal rulings.

Wuterich's attorneys have exhausted all possible appeals on behalf of their client, including an attempt to dismiss charges based on the forced retirement of one of the military defense attorneys.

Another ruling against the defense team allowed military prosecutors access to unaired portions of the CBS "60 Minutes" interview of Wuterich, which was conducted prior to charges being filed.

Wuterich remains on active duty at Camp Pendleton while awaiting resolution of his case.

If convicted of all charges, he could be sentenced to life in prison, but military juries in Iraq-related Camp Pendleton trials have been reluctant to convict their peers or have recommended very light sentences.

Wuterich has asked for his jury to include some enlisted personnel, and recent trials have included many Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans.

Pre-trial motions were heard Wednesday. Jury selection was to begin at 8:00 am (1500 GMT) Thursday, but was delayed by two hours. At least one third of the jury -- comprising at least five members -- must be enlisted personnel.

Opening statements could be heard later in the day, if time allows.



.

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle



IRAQ WARS
Sunni leader slams 'massive' Iraq rights problems
Baghdad (AFP) Jan 2, 2012
Parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi slammed the human rights situation in Iraq on Monday, arguing that "massive" violations were destroying its democracy just as it grapples with a festering political row. Osama al-Nujaifi said that targeting the innocent, the use of violence against individuals and their property, and random arrests were all signs of poor human rights in Iraq, and called fo ... read more


IRAQ WARS
SSC supports simultaneous launch of Elisa, Pleiades 1A and SSOT

Orbcomm and SpaceX Improve Launch Plans for OG2 Satellites

Orbcomm Prepares For Launch Of Second AIS Satellite

Arianespace Completes 2012 With Soyuz Launch Partner Mission For Globalstar

IRAQ WARS
Mars Rover Opportunity Positioned at Candidate Site for Winter

Arvidson To Be Participating Scientist on New Mars Rover

Wheel Passes Checkup After Stalled Drive

Meteorite Shock Waves Trigger Dust Avalanches on Mars

IRAQ WARS
NASA's Twin Grail Spacecraft Reunite in Lunar Orbit

Two NASA probes both in lunar orbit

Lockheed Martin Helps Nasa Place Two Spacecraft Into Lunar Orbit

Moon mission on the horizon

IRAQ WARS
SwRI researchers discover new evidence for complex molecules on Pluto's surface

New Horizons Becomes Closest Spacecraft to Approach Pluto

Pluto's Hidden Ocean

Is the Pluto System Dangerous?

IRAQ WARS
Subaru's Sharp Eye Confirms Signs of Unseen Planets in the Dust Ring of HR 4796 A

New Exo planets raise questions about the evolution of stars

Astronomers discover deep-fried planets

Two new Earth-sized exoplanets discovered

IRAQ WARS
First J-2X Engine Rockets Through First Round of Testing

Vega to fly ESA experimental reentry vehicle

NASA Takes Next Step In Developing Commercial Crew Program

Industry Leaders Discuss New Booster Development for Space Launch System

IRAQ WARS
Why The X-37B Is Not Spying On Tiangong

Getting ready for challenges of space

China sets up state-level aerospace research institute

China issues white paper on space exploration

IRAQ WARS
Space Mountain Produces Terrestrial Meteorites

Christmas Comet Lovejoy Captured at Paranal

Dawn Obtains First Low Altitude Images of Vesta

Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives


.

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement