BAGHDAD, Iraq – A roadside bomb killed four American soldiers Tuesday, and gunmen assassinated a candidate for Parliament in this week’s election.
The U.S. ambassador, meanwhile, said Tuesday the total number of abused prisoners found so far in jails run by the Shiite-led Interior Ministry came to about 120. The statement by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad reinforced Sunni Arab claims of mistreatment by security forces, a major issue among Sunnis in the election campaign.
|U.S. military deaths
The latest identifications reported by the U.S. military of personnel recently killed in Iraq:
Army Sgt. 1st Class James S. Moudy, 37; Newark, Del., died in Baghdad on Sunday when an explosive detonated near his vehicle; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Army Sgt. Julia V. Atkins, 22, Bossier City, La., died in Baghdad on Saturday when an explosive detonated near her vehicle; assigned to the 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.
Army Sgt. Clarence L. Floyd Jr., 28, Newark, N.J.; died Saturday when his unit came under attack in Taji; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
Army Sgt. Adrian N. Orosco, 26, Corcoran, Calif.; killed in a suicide car bombing Friday in Baghdad; assigned to the 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Irwin, Calif.
Army Sgt. Spencer C. Akers, 35, Traverse City, Mich.; died Thursday of injuries received when an explosive detonated near his vehicle in Habaniyah on Nov. 21; assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, Saginaw, Mich.
Army Staff Sgt. Milton Rivera-Vargas, 55, Boqueron, Puerto Rico; died Thursday in Kalsu; assigned to the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 296th Infantry Regiment, Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico.
Army Staff Sgt. Travis L. Nelson, 41, Anniston, Ala., and Army Sgt. Kenith Casica, 32, Virginia Beach, Va.; killed by small-arms fire Saturday in Baghdad; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
Army Staff Sgt. Keith A. Bennett, 32, Holtwood, Pa.; died Sunday in Ramadi in an attack; assigned to the Army National Guard’s 28th Military Police Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Johnstown, Pa.
Army Spc. Lex S. Nelson, 21, Salt Lake City; died Monday in Tikrit when he fell from a guard tower; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army Spc. Jared W. Kubasak, 25, Rocky Mount, Va.; died Monday in Baghdad when an explosive detonated near his vehicle; assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Carson, Colo.
Khalilzad said the United States would “accelerate the investigation” to determine who was responsible for abuses.
Despite the violence, more than 1,000 Sunni clerics issued a religious decree instructing their followers to vote Thursday, boosting American hopes the election will encourage more members of the disaffected minority to abandon the insurgency.
Three of Iraq’s leading politicians agreed in a debate Tuesday that a speedy withdrawal by foreign troops before Iraqi forces are ready would cause chaos.
But the three – former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and Sunni Arab politician Tariq al-Hashimi – disagreed on the description of U.S. and other foreign troops. Barzani described them as “forces of liberation,” while al-Hashimi said they were occupiers.
Iraqis living outside the country began voting Tuesday in the United States and 14 other countries. Strong turnout was seen in polling stations around the world, including in Syria, Jordan and Iran, where reporters said they witnessed heavier turnout compared with Iraq’s January elections.
In an encouraging sign, more than 1,000 Sunni clerics issued a religious edict, or a fatwa, on Tuesday urging their followers to vote.
“We hope, God willing, that Iraqis will not miss the opportunity to vote and to avoid being marginalized,” Sheik Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie said on Al-Arabiya television.
A U.S. military statement said four soldiers from Task Force Baghdad died in a blast northwest of the capital, but did not specify the location. That brought to at least 2,149 the number of U.S. service members to have died since the start of the war in 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Elsewhere, gunmen killed Sunni Arab candidate Mezher al-Dulaimi as he was filling his car at a gas station in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 70 miles west of Baghdad.