Last week in Iraq
By TIMES WIRES
Published August 5, 2007
- Baghdad shook with bombings Wednesday. In the worst one, a suicide attacker blew up his fuel tanker, killing at least 50 people. In all, attacks claimed 142 Iraqi lives nationwide.
- Other attacks throughout the week were much smaller in scale but still claimed at least 112 lives including unidentified bodies found across Iraq.
- American military deaths for July rose to 73 on Tuesday with the report of a Marine killed in combat, but the toll was the lowest in eight months as the United States said it was gaining control of former militant strongholds.
- Adm. Michael Mullen, nominated to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators on Tuesday that U.S. military efforts in Iraq would fail unless Iraqi leaders did more to bridge sectarian divides. But he also warned that a rapid exit of U.S. troops could turn Iraq into a "cauldron" for Middle East strife.
- A jury in Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Friday sentenced Marine Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III to 15 years in prison for the murder of an Iraqi civilian during a search for an insurgent in Hamdania in April 2006.
- Iraq's Parliament on Monday shrugged off U.S. criticism and adjourned for a month, as key lawmakers declared there was no point waiting any longer for the prime minister to deliver Washington-demanded benchmark legislation for their vote.
- Living conditions in Iraq have deteriorated steeply since the invasion in 2003, leaving nearly one-third of the population in need of emergency aid, a consortium of relief organizations said Monday in a report.
- Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday that it has begun talks with Iraq about opening an embassy, a move that could be a major boost to U.S. diplomacy and reconciliation efforts.
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Thursday he was optimistic about the security situation in Iraq but pessimistic about the country's political progress, saying the Bush administration underestimated divisions between Iraq's sects.
As of Saturday, 3,664 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:
- Army Pvt. Michael A. Baloga, 21, Everett, Wash.; explosion July 26; Muqdadiyah.
- Army Spc. Charles E. Bilbrey Jr., 21, Owego, N.Y.; explosion July 26; Saqlawiyah.
- Army Spc. Camy Florexil, 20, Philadelphia; explosion July 24; Baghdad.
- Army Sgt. William R. Howdeshell, 37, Norfolk, Va.; explosion July 26; Saqlawiyah.
- Army Cpl. Jason M. Kessler, 29, Mount Vernon, Wash.; rocket-propelled grenade Monday; northern Iraq.
- Army Spc. Daniel A. Leckel, 19, Medford, Ore.; small-arms fire July 25; Baghdad.
- Army Sgt. Stephen R. Maddies, 41, Elizabethton, Tenn.; small-arms fire Tuesday; Baghdad.
- Army Spc. Jaime Rodriguez Jr., 19, Oxnard, Calif.; explosion July 26; Saqlawiyah.
- Marine Cpl. Sean A. Stokes, 24, Auburn, Calif.; combat wounds Monday; Anbar province.
- Army Staff Sgt. Wilberto Suliveras, 38, Humacao, Puerto Rico; small-arms fire July 29; in Taji.
- Army Spc. Zachariah J. Gonzalez, 23, Indianapolis; explosion Tuesday, Baghdad.
- Army Pfc. Charles T. Heinlein Jr., 23, Hemlock, Mich.; explosion Tuesday, Baghdad.
- Army Pfc. Alfred H. Jairala, 29, Hialeah; explosion Tuesday, Baghdad.