An Iraqi Army officer said in an interview that the planning for security this year was much more robust. But few female Shiite pilgrims were screened, and one killed 28 with a bomb hidden under her loose clothing.
General Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, said in a Monitor interview that US and Iraqi forces have broken large Al Qaeda in Iraq rings that extorted millions of dollars a year from companies.
On the first day of summer the temperature has already reached 120 degrees F. in Iraq, with the hottest days yet to come. Faltering electricity, on top of violence and a political vacuum, has plunged many into deeper despair.
NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand is the most peaceful country in the world, according to the 2010 Global Peace Index (GPI), the fourth edition of an annual attempt to quantify peace in countries across the world. New Zealand topped 149 other countries on the list, based on 23 factors including military expenditures, participation in United Nations peacekeeping, and domestic stability. Here, a Zorb rolls down a slip in Rotorua, New Zealand, in May 2009. Zorbing is where visitors can tumble down a hillside in what looks like a giant beach ball.
At an unusual Baghdad gathering of key players, tensions eased over the Iraq election results. But the effort to form a coalition government and choose Iraqi's new prime minister and president still in the early stages.
A US general said he hasn't ruled out the involvement of militias close to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in recent attacks in Iraq's south and says the movement is reasserting itself as a force in the area.
In one example, a policeman near one of the six Baghdad checkpoints attacked in a wave of Iraq attacks yesterday said political parties were taking advantage of the tenuous security situation.
Violence is increasing amid continued election squabbling more than two months after the Iraq election, with a suicide bombing and series of coordinated attacks Monday across the Baghdad region killing at least 30.
Although Iraqi and US officials say they've severely damaged Al Qaeda in Iraq, a series of new Baghdad bombings reveals the organization may be weaker but is still trying to spark tension between Sunnis and Shiites.
US and Iraqi officials say DNA evidence proves they killed Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the key link between Al Qaeda internationally and its offshoot in Iraq, and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the senior Iraqi member of the group. But one analyst is skeptical.