tampabay.com

Last week in Iraq

By Times Wires
Published February 24, 2008


Attacks

-A suicide bomber detonated her explosives in a commercial area in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad on Feb. 17. Police said the assailant killed three people and injured five. But the U.S. military said only the bomber died.

-Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, the top U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said Feb. 17 that insurgent assaults in Iraq had declined from an average of 205 attacks a day to 82 attacks per day last month, a drop of more than 60 percent since a U.S.-led security offensive began a year ago.

-Five Iraqi civilians were killed Monday when rockets struck the large U.S. military base near Baghdad International Airport and a nearby neighborhood.

-As many as 15 Iraqi police officers responding to an attack against U.S. bases in Baghdad were killed Tuesday when rockets, set to be launched from the back of a truck, exploded before the officers could defuse them, officials said. Four U.S. soldiers were wounded when the initial rockets slammed into two of their outposts, the military said.

-Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman, said Wednesday that two women used as suicide bombers in attacks this month had undergone psychiatric treatment for depression or schizophrenia or both, but that there was no indication they had Down's syndrome, as Iraqi and American officials initially said.

Military

-The Army's top general, George Casey, said Tuesday that soldiers heading to war this summer are likely to see their tours shortened from 15 to 12 months.

Rebuilding

-The trial of two former Iraqi officials accused of letting Shiite militia members use ambulances and hospitals to kidnap and kill rivals was delayed Tuesday because prosecution witnesses failed to show up, according to judicial officials.

-Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr opted Friday to keep the cease-fire order for his Mahdi militia in place for another six months, a step that likely will hold down U.S. and Iraqi casualties.

Deaths

As of Saturday, 3,969 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:

-Army Sgt. Conrad Alvarez, 22, Big Spring, Texas; explosion Tuesday; Baghdad.

-Army Cpl. Albert Bitton, 20, Chicago; explosion Tuesday; Baghdad.

-Army Spc. Chad D. Groepper, 21, Kingsley, Iowa; small-arms fire Feb. 17; Diyala province.

-Army Staff Sgt. Bryant W. Mackey, 30, Eureka, Kan.; rocket-propelled grenade Wednesday; Mosul.

-Army Spc. Micheal B. Matlock Jr., 21, Glen Burnie, Md.; explosion Tuesday; Baghdad.

-Army Capt. Nathan R. Raudenbush, 25, Port Wentworth, Pa.; explosion Wednesday; Busayefi.

-Army Spc. Luke S. Runyan, 21, Spring Grove, Pa.; small-arms fire Feb. 17; Diyala province.