More than 200 people are dead and 300 injured after four suicide bombings struck a Kurdish sect community in northern Iraq. It was one of the deadliest attacks in the four years since the U.S.-led invasion. The Yazidi sect has seen escalating tensions with militant Islamic groups. The casualty toll is expected to rise as rescue workers dig through the rubble. Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced the deaths of nine U.S. troops. Five died in a helicopter crash.
The violence comes as U.S. forces have launched new crackdowns across Iraq. More than 16,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops are taking part in Operation Lightning Hammer around the Diyala River. In Baghdad, at least two people were killed in a U.S.-led raid on the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. The victims were reported to be a father and his three-year-old daughter, asleep in the summer heat on the roof of their home. Nine others were arrested, including the three sons of local resident Umm Falah.
Umm Falah: “I used to bake breads and sell it to feed them, and when they grew, they started to work to help me. We thought that we would be relieved when Saddam fell. We did not expect that he was replaced with the worst. Only God can beat them (the Americans).”
In other Iraq developments, new figures show the number of prisoners inside Iraq continues to rise. According to the Pentagon, there are now more than 23,000 people in U.S.-run jails inside Iraq. That’s 5,000 more than over four months ago and an all-time high since the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003.
The Bush administration has announced it will add Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to its list of foreign terrorist groups. The move would mark the first time a wing of a foreign government’s forces would be added to the list. Administration officials are calling the move a reaction to Iran’s alleged involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The news comes on the heels of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Afghanistan Tuesday for a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Speaking alongside Karzai in Kabul, Ahmadinejad denied U.S. accusations of arming Taliban insurgents.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Our policy is clear, and as we have already announced, we strongly support the political process in Afghanistan. The security in Afghanistan has a primary impact on Iran because we have the largest joint border. A strong and stable Afghanistan is best for Iran. We want our best friend to be powerful, developed and stable.”
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Beirut Tuesday to mark the first anniversary of the end of Israel’s attack on Lebanon. In a videotaped message, Hezbollah leader Sayed Nasrallah warned Israel against another war and praised what he called Hezbollah’s military victory over the invading troops.
Sayed Nasrallah: “The resistance revived the Arab nations and renewed hope, trust and enthusiasm for the people in the Muslim and Arab world, because the resistance offered a real alternative for liberating lands instead of humiliating negotiations where America and Israel impose their conditions. That is why they want to isolate and pressure it.”
More than 1,000 Lebanese, mostly civilians, died in the 34-day conflict. Forty-three Israeli civilians were killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli towns.
Federal treatment of detained undocumented workers is under new scrutiny following three deaths in U.S. immigration jails over the past month. Twenty-three-year-old Victoria Arellano died after her AIDS treatment lapsed at a California immigration jail. Fellow prisoners cared for her before she was moved to a hospital. She died shackled to her bed. Another victim, Edmar Alves Araujo, died after immigration officials ignored his relatives’ pleas to provide medicine for his epilepsy. The third victim, Rosa Isela Contreras-Dominguez, died in an El Paso immigration jail while seven weeks pregnant.
A new study shows only half of Americans eligible for food stamps have actually received them on a regular basis. According to the National Priorities Project, more than 49 percent — 17 million people — of the eligible poor have not gotten their entitled food stamps.
In media news, the radio talk show host Don Imus has reached an undisclosed settlement over his firing from CBS. Imus was forced out earlier this year after referring to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” Imus had threatened to seek more than $120 million for breach of contract. He’s been rumored to have actually received some $20 million. Some observers say the settlement could mark a step toward Imus’ return to the airwaves. He’s said to be in talks with the radio station WABC about resuming his daily broadcast.
News of the settlement came as Rutger’s women’s basketball team member Kia Vaughn filed suit against Imus for slander and libel. Vaughn says Imus’ sexist and racist comments damaged her reputation.
New documents point to more Bush administration censorship on global warming. The Government Accountability Project has made public memos showing the administration routinely interfered with the World Bank’s limited efforts to address environmental issues. In one case, then-World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz personally intervened to remove the words “climate change” from the title of a bank report. Wolfowitz also ordered staffers to shift the focus of the text away from global warming.
And finally, a new poetry book has been released with some unlikely contributors. “Poems From Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak” is a volume of poems written by prisoners at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo attorney and Northern Illinois Law School Professor Marc Falkoff helped compile the book.
Marc Falkoff: “The book is meant to humanize the men, and it’s meant to really provoke discussion in the U.S. about what Guantanamo is, what it’s become, what it means for us as a country to keep this lawless zone active.”
The book is 84 pages. Military censors barred thousands of lines of poetry from being released.
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