tampabay.com

Last week in Iraq

By Times Wires
Published February 17, 2008


Attacks

-More than 50 people were killed in attacks across the country Feb. 10. The deadliest was a suicide bombing near a market north of Baghdad that killed at least 23 people.

-Car bombs in Baghdad killed at least 22 people Monday. CBS confirmed that two of its journalists were missing in Basra.

-The bullet-riddled body of Iraqi newspaper reporter Hisham Muchawat Hamdan was recovered Tuesday in Baghdad. Hamdan, 27 and a father of two, was a member of Iraq's Young Journalists' League and reported for three local newspapers.

-A Baghdad mental hospital administrator was arrested on suspicion of supplying mentally ill patients to insurgents for use in suicide bombings, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

-Iraq's prime minister said Friday that U.S. and Iraqi troops have chased al-Qaida in Iraq out of Baghdad in the year since a security crackdown began, and he promised to pursue insurgents who have fled northward.

Military

-Sgt. Evan Vela of St. Anthony, Idaho, was sentenced Feb. 10 to 10 years in prison for the murder of an Iraqi man and planting an AK-47 on him.

-On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said he supported a pause to evaluate the situation in Iraq before troop reductions continue this summer.

-Three neighborhood security guards were killed and two others injured when U.S. attack helicopters fired at their checkpoint south of Baghdad early Friday, Iraqi police said. Sheik Mohammed Ghuriari, who heads the so-called Awakening Councils in the north of Babil province, said it was the third U.S.-led strike on their checkpoints in two months. He claimed 19 people had been killed and 14 injured.

Rebuilding

-During an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Feb. 10, Gates said he saw signs of beginning reconciliation among Iraq's lawmakers. He cited the recent passage of an amnesty law as an example of political progress.

-Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, speaker of Iraq's fragmented Parliament, threatened Tuesday to disband the legislature, saying it is so riddled with distrust it appears unable to adopt the budget or agree on a law setting a date for provincial elections.

-Parliament cleared the way Wednesday for local elections this year that could give Sunnis a stronger voice and usher in vast changes to Iraq's power structure. The new law - which set the vote for Oct. 1 - is one of the most sweeping reforms pushed by the Bush administration.

Deaths

As of Saturday, 3,961 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:

-Army Spc. Michael T. Manibog, 31, Alameda, Calif.; explosion Feb. 8; Taji.

-Army Sgt. Timothy P. Martin, 27, Pixley, Calif.; explosion Feb. 8; Taji.

-Army Sgt. Corey E. Spates, 21, LaGrange, Ga.; explosion Feb 10; Diyala province.

-Army Pfc. Jack T. Sweet, 19, Alexandria Bay, N.Y.; explosion Feb. 8; Jawwalah.

-Army Sgt. Gary D. Willett, 34, Alamogordo, N.M.; explosion Feb. 8; Taji.

-Army Staff Sgt. Jerald A. Whisenhunt, 32, Orrick, Mo.; explosion Feb. 8; Taji.