tampabay.com

Last week in Iraq

By TIMES WIRES
Published February 4, 2007


Attacks

- Mortar shells rained down Jan. 28 on a girls' secondary school in a mostly Sunni area of western Baghdad, killing five students and wounding 20, witnesses and police said. At least seven other people died in a series of bombings and shootings across the capital, mostly in Shiite areas. Two car bombs exploded within a half-hour of each other in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, killing 11 people and wounding 34, police said

- Bombings, mortar attacks and shootings killed at least 36 people across Iraq on Monday.

- Bombers struck Shiite worshipers in two cities Tuesday and gunmen ambushed pilgrims in a series of attacks that killed at least 58 people as more than 2-million Shiites jammed major shrines for ceremonies marking Ashura, the holiest day of the Shiite calendar.

- Car bombs struck mostly Shiite targets in Baghdad on Wednesday, and the bodies of three Sunni professors and a student were found days after they were seized. At least 43 people were reported killed, including a U.S. soldier.

- A pair of suicide bombers detonated explosives Thursday among shoppers in a crowded outdoor market in a Shiite city south of Baghdad, killing 73 people and wounding 150, police said. Bombs and a mortar attack killed at least 17 others in both Shiite and Sunni areas of Baghdad.

Military

- U.S.-backed Iraqi troops on Jan. 28 attacked insurgents allegedly plotting to kill Shiite clerics and pilgrims at a major Shiite Muslim religious festival, and Iraqi officials estimated 200 militants died in the battle near Najaf. A U.S. helicopter crashed during the fight, killing two American soldiers.

- Gen. George Casey, the outgoing top U.S. general in Iraq, told a Senate committee Thursday that the United States can win in Iraq and American policy there hasn't failed.

- An Army helicopter crashed Friday in a hail of gunfire north of Baghdad, killing crew members, the U.S. military said. It was the fourth helicopter to go down in the last two weeks.

Rebuilding

- Prominent Democratic Sens. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Jim Webb, D-Va., who are against the troop buildup in Iraq, defended themselves Jan. 28 from criticism by Bush administration officials who have said opposition to the president's new strategy will embolden the enemy. "It's not the American people or the United States Congress who are emboldening the enemy," Biden said. "It's the failed policy of this president."

- President Bush said Monday that the United States "will respond firmly" if Iran escalates military action in Iraq and endangers American forces. But he emphasized he has no intention of invading Iran.

- The Bush administration's allies in the Senate began an effort Tuesday to prevent a potentially embarrassing rejection of the president's plan to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq. The effort is aimed at blocking two nonbinding resolutions critical of the White House that had appeared to be gaining broad support among Democrats and even some Republicans.

- Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., joined forces Wednesday in opposing Bush's troop buildup in Iraq, agreeing on a nonbinding resolution in the Senate.

- A much-anticipated assessment of Iraq by America's intelligence agencies on Friday described a worsening cycle of chaos in the country and forecast that the sectarian strife will continue to fracture the country without bold actions by Iraqi politicians.

Deaths

As of Saturday, 3,096 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:

- Army Pfc. Michael C. Balsley, 23, Hayward, Calif.; explosion Jan. 25; Baghdad.

- Marine Sgt. Alejandro Carrillo, 22, Los Angeles; Jan. 30; Anbar province.

- Army Chief Warrant Officer Cornell C. Chao, 36, Orange City, Calif.; helicopter crash Jan. 28; near Najaf.

- Navy Hospitalman Matthew G. Conte, 22, Mogadore, Ohio; Thursday; Anbar province.

- Marine Gunnery Sgt. Terry J. Elliott, 34, Middleton, Tenn.; Thursday; Anbar province.

- Marine Lance Cpl. Adam Q. Emul, 19, Vancouver, Wash.; Monday; Anbar province.

- Army Sgt. Alexander H. Fuller, 21, Centerville, Mass.; explosion Jan. 25; Baghdad.

- Army Sgt. Mickel D. Garrigus, 24, Elma, Wash.; explosion Jan. 27; Taji.

- Army Pfc. Jon B. St. John II, 25; Neenah, Wis.; explosion Jan. 27; Taji.

- Army Maj. Alan R. Johnson, 44, Yakima, Wash.; explosion Jan. 26; Muqdadiyah.

- Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony C. Melia, 20, Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Jan. 27; Anbar province.

- Army Sgt. Maj. Michael C. Mettille, 44, West St. Paul, Minn.; noncombat related injury Thursday; Camp Adder.

- Army Capt. Mark T. Resh, 28, Pittsburgh; helicopter crash Jan. 28; near Najaf.

- Army Sgt. William M. Sigua, 21, Los Altos Hills, Calif.; small arms fire Wednesday; Bayji.

- Army Cpl. Stephen D. Shannon, 21, Guttenberg, Iowa; rocket fire Wednesday; Balad.

- Army Spc. Carla J. Stewart, 37, Sun Valley, Calif.; vehicle rolled over Jan. 28; Tallil.

- Army Cpl. Timothy A. Swanson, 21; San Antonio, Texas; explosion Jan. 27; Taji.

- Army Pfc. David T. Toomalatai, 19; Long Beach, Calif.; explosion Jan. 27; Taji.