United States forces killed 49 ''criminals'' in fierce fighting with militants in Baghdad's Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr City on Sunday during a raid targeting an Iranian-linked insurgent. Medics at four hospitals confirmed 17 dead, including a boy and a girl, but US military spokesperson Major Winfield Danielson said there were no civilian casualties and no reports of American losses.
A former Iraqi lawmaker gave chilling testimony of torture and beatings at the trial on Wednesday of 15 aides of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, including the notorious ''Chemical Ali'', who are accused of crimes against humanity. ''I heard screams of pain as prisoners were beaten and tortured,'' the witness said.
United States forces have arrested a top Iraqi militant who acted as a link between al-Qaeda's Iraqi offshoot and Osama bin Laden, the global jihadist network's Saudi founder, the US military said on Wednesday. Brigadier General Kevin Bergner said American troops had arrested Khaled al-Mashhadani on July 4 in the northern city of Mosul.
A suicide car bomber struck a United States military outpost north of Baghdad, killing nine soldiers and wounding 20 others, in the deadliest attack on American ground forces in Iraq in 16 months. In an attack claimed by al-Qaeda, the bomb exploded against a patrol base in the restive province of Diyala on Monday.
Insurgents slaughtered another 47 Iraqis on Sunday, including 23 members of a small religious minority dragged from a bus and gunned down by the roadside, security officials said. The latest day of carnage came as the United States military said it would press on with plans to wall in Baghdad's worst neighbourhoods despite criticism from residents.
Nearly 400 people have been killed over the past three days in Iraq as insurgents and sectarian militias ripped through a massive United States security crackdown concentrated around Baghdad. A series of coordinated bombings of Shi'ite marketplaces in and north of the capital defied a latest plea from embattled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Iraq sent another of Saddam Hussein's former henchmen to the gallows on Tuesday as the nation marked the fourth anniversary of the United States-led war still battling a raging insurgency and sectarian conflict. Former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan was executed before dawn for crimes against humanity over the killing of 148 Shi'ites in the 1980s.
Killings and attacks in Baghdad have slumped significantly since the launch of a security plan one month ago, United States officials said on Wednesday, even as car bombs claimed more lives in the capital. ''There has been an over 50% reduction in murders and executions'' since Operation Fardh al-Qanoon (Imposing Law) began, Major General William Caldwell said.
An Iranian diplomat has been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital, Tehran said on Tuesday, as security forces pressed on with troop deployments in Baghdad ahead of a United States-Iraqi crackdown to curb raging violence. As the troops took up positions in Baghdad, violence continued in Iraq with at least five people killed and four others found murdered, Iraqi security officials said.