December 21 Events in Iraq
Latifiyah. Bodies of two Iraqi National Guardsmen found.
Siniya. A child, Ayoub Mohammed, was kidnapped in Siniya, a town near Baïji, 200 km north of Baghdad.
Baghdad. Sunni clerics condemn anti-Shi'ite bombings. The Committee of Iraqi Ulema has condemned Sunday's bombings in Najaf and Karbala.
Khabbaza. Five oilwells ablaze. Five wells are ablaze in the locality of Khabbaza, 35 km west of Kirkuk, after they were sabotaged in mid-November.
Baghdad. Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Abbas Ghadbane says sabotage on 11 December knocked out the supply of petroleum for national consumption and that this may affect the January 30 general elections. The Iraqi caretaker government has decided to reinforce pipeline security, currently the responsibility of tribes and private contractors.
17:41 Mossul. Many American casualties. The commandant of US base attacked this morning in Mossul, Gen. Ham, says there are at least 20 dead, including four civilian Iraqi contractors and an Iraqi solider. Three Halliburton contractors and two subcontractors are among the victims.
17:38 Paris. Release of hostages confirmed. French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hervè Ladsous, says Chesnot and Malbrunot have been freed and will be flown to France tomorrow.
17:27 Baghdad. French reporters freed because they were not spies. The Islamic Army in Iraq releases kidnapped French reporters because they demonstrated that they were not spies of the USA and out of appreciation for France's stance on the war and the Palestinian cause.
17:01 Baghdad. Al Jazeera, French hostages freed. Al Jazeera reports that kidnapped French reporters Jacques Chesnot and George Malbrunot have been freed by their captors.
16:58 Mossul. US soldiers believed attack was inevitable. US troops inside Camp Marez have feared an attack on their installation for weeks. Several soldiers said that the tent housing the mess hall, which can hold up to 500 people, was a potential target.
16:17 Mossul. Ansar al Sunna claims credit for attack. The Islamist group Ansar al Sunna claimed responsibility in the attack on a dining hall inside a US base in Mossul. A member of the Mujaheddin of the Ansar al Sunna Army conducted a suicide operation inside the dining hall of the occupation forces.
15:57 Washington. White House "saddened". Presidential Press Secretary Scott McClellan says the White House is saddened by the bombing in Mossul. The attack "shows that the enemies of freedom continue in their attempt to derail the transition to a free and democratic Iraq."
14:35 Mossul. Explosion inside US base, at least 22 dead. CNN reports 22 dead inside the Camp Merez airbase in the southeast of the city.
14:33 Rome. Berlusconi: Phased withdrawal. Berlusconi says he plans talks with the Iraqi government on pulling out of Iraq.
13:41 Baghdad. Voting regulations. Seven thousand polling stations will be open from 7am to 5pm. Political parties on the ballot will be color-coded.
11:58 Baghdad. Blair: "We are doing the right thing". Premier Tony Blair gives press conference with colleague Iyad Allawi inside the heavily-fortified Green Zone.
11:56 Blair: "Elections will be held". Blair says voters are the "heros of new Iraq."
11:26 Blair visits Baghdad. Tony Blair makes unannounced visit to Baghdad from Amman aboard a Royal Air Force transport plane.
10:43 Baquba. Scientist assassinated. Armed men assassinated nuclear scientist Taleb Ibrahim al-Dhaher of the University of Diyala as he drove to work.
10:43 Beiji. Oil pipeline sabotage. An explosion struck a pipeline transporting petroleum from the Kirkuk oil fields to the country's largest refinery in Beiji. Damage is extensive. A second explosion occurred to the west where a pipeline transports petroleum to a smaller refinery near Baghdad.
10:36 Baghdad. Iraqi police death toll tops 1,000. Interior Minister Falah al Nakib says more than 1000 members of the reconstituted police have been killed by rebels.
09:20 Hawija. Five marines wounded . Five US soldiers and a civilian were wounded by a roadside bomb in Hawija in the north of Iraq. The six, travelling in the same vehicle, were rescued. One suspect was arrested. Meanwhile, four rebels were arrested last evening in Auja, Saddam Hussein's home town.
09:19 Hit. Six die in US air strikes. At least 6 Iraqis are dead and 10 wounded in US nighttime airstrikes on the city of Hit, northwest of Baghdad. The raid lasted all night long.
04:04 Ottawa. Canada to head monitoring group. International experts in electoral processses have created a new institution to monitor the 30 January elections in Iraq. Most monitors will not set foot in Iraq, however, but will remain outside the country. They will be in remote contact with Iraqi vote monitoring organizations.
00:28 New York. Majority in US opinion poll support keeping troops in Iraq. Pew Research Center says 56% of Americans surveyed believe US troops should remain in Iraq.