December 22 Events in Iraq
Baghdad. A city official, two police and a Turkish truck driver are shot dead south of Baghdad.
Amman. Allawi in Jordan. Iraqi Premier Iyad Allawi confirms elections will be held on 30 January. Allawi is in Jordan to discuss the elections with King Abdallah II and World Bank President James Wolfensohn.
Diwaniyah. Polish officials visit Polish base. Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka and Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski visited the Polish base in Diwaniyah.
Fallujah. 2,000 heads of household permitted to inspect their property. Iraqi Minister of State for National Security Kassem Daoud says 2,000 heads of household will be permitted to inspect their property in Fallujah before deciding to return with their families. US military warns that rebels are attempting to infiltrate back into the city.
Baghdad. Depression among Marines. The suicide rate in the Marine Corps has reached its highest level in five years. The Pentagon is encouraging Corps members to seek psychiatric help.
Teheran. Iran forbits Shi'ite pilgrimages to Iraq. Iran has announced the closing of its frontier with Iraq and has forbidden pilgrimages to Shi'a holy sites there. The entire frontier is closed in both directions, reports IRNA, the official government news agency.
Amman. Egypt and Jordan insist on preserving the Arab character of Iraq. Egypt and Jordan say they will act against any attempt to divide Iraq up between Shi'ites and Sunnis. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu Gheith and his Jordanian counterpart Hani Mulki insist on the maintenance of the "Arab character" of Iraq. Jordanian FM Mulki says the Arab identity of Iraq is in danger and that Jordan has proof of the involvement of Iraq's neighbors in attempting to create a zone of Iranian influence.
22:17 Al Anbar, police chief quits. The police chief for al Anbar Province resigns to protest staff reductions.
21:48 Mahmudiya, five dead. Five were killed and 20 wounded in a carbombing this evening in Mahmudiya. The casualty toll may be higher, say hospital officials.
21:17 Mossul, Myers: attack was a suicide bomb. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers confirms suicide bomber carried out attack in camp mess tent.
21:07 Mossul. Casualty toll updates. Military sources says 13, not 14, US soldiers were killed as well as 5 US civilians, 4 of whom worked for Halliburton. Total wounded are 69, 42 of whom have been evacuated to the US military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany. 8 are in critical condition.
20:30 Mossul. FBI investigates mess tent bombing in Camp Maretz.
19:59 Samarra, four are dead. Four die in two separate incidents in Samarra.
19:45 Mahmudiya, explosion in shopping district. Explosion rocks the Husseiniya district in Mahmudiya. Witnesses say a fuel truck exploded at a service station near a secondary school.
19:31 Paris. French reporters ridicule Didier Julia rescue mission. Chesnot and Malbrunot says self-serving parliamentarian's rescue mission could have endangered their lives.
19:29 Paris. French reporters: "We never lost hope". Release French reporters say they never lost hope for their release but were treated well while held hostage by the Islamic Army.
18:37 Mossul, Turkish truck driver killed. Saban Ozsagir, 30, from the town of Batman [sic] in southeast Anatolia was killed when his truck was hijacked and set on fire.
18:37 Carbombing in Mahmudiya, several casualties.
18:36 French reporters welcomed back to France by President Chirac and Prime Minister Raffarin.
17:03 Baghdad. Bombing wipes out family. A family of five was killed today by a roadside bomb along a street in Baghdad commonly used by US military convoys.
16:41 Mossul. Bombing was a suicide. ABC TV says ramains of human torso with a suicide vest have been found inside the tent at the US base where the bombing occurred.
15:46 Three Iraqis killed in Samarra. Two Iraqis, including a 9 year-old child, were killed in Samarra by a roadside bomb intended for a US military convoy. The body of a third person who worked for the Iraqi forces was discovered in the same area.
14:39 Richmond. US contractor abandons Iraq due to risks. Contrack International Inc. of Richmond, Virginia, which had won a $325 million contract for the rebuilding of roads and bridges in Iraq, has left the country. Corporation President Karim Camel-Toueg says the pricetag for security for its staff and equipment was prohibitive.
14:07 Nicosia. French reporters stop in Cyprus. A French military aircraft returning the released French journalists to France made a stop in Cyprus.
12:56 Rome. Italian President Ciampi: "Rebuild Iraqi Army as fast a possible". Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi says it is essential to reconstitute the Iraqi Army without delay.
12:11 Paris. Chirac: "We will not let downour guard". French President Jacques Chirac says "France will continue its determined monitoring of all forms of terrorsism" and has called on the public to remember hostages elsewhere in the world. I have Ingrid Betancourt in my thoughts, who has been held hostage in Colombia for more than two years.
11:28 Baghdad. French reporters depart. French reporters Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot left Baghdad aboard a French military C-130 aircraft. The plane will stop in Cyprus, where the reports will transfer to a Falcon 900 with French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and their family members aboard. The aircraft is expected at 6:00 pm at the Villacoublay Air Base, outside Paris. Jacques Chirac will be on hand to greet the returning reporters.
11:25 Paris. Chirac, reporters in route for Paris. President Jacques Chirac addressed the nation welcoming the release of the French reporters. We owe their release to national unity, to our diversity, our cohesion, our solidarity and our values.
11:15 Washington. US troops contract rare form of pneumonia. At least 18 US soldiers deployed to Iraq have been stricken with a rare form of pneumonia, from which two have died, says the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The disease is due to prolonged breathing of sand-filled air.
11:13 Washington. Americans worried about Iraqi crisis. According to a survey conducted by CNN, Usa Today and Gallup, 90 percent of Americans believe the Iraq crisis is extremely or very important. This is 9 percentage points higher than last year's results.
11:12 Al-Anbar. Marine dies. A US marine injured in a road accident yesterday in al-Anbar Province.
11:07 Mossul, final death toll. Twenty dead, including 15 US military personnel and 5 civilians, is the death toll in yesterday's bombing. In addition, two members of Iraq's security forces were killed. 66 are wounded: 42 US soldiers, 10 US civilians, 9 Iraqi civilians, 1 member of Iraq's security forces and 4 others whose nationality was not given.
11:06 Paris. Sister of Christian Chesnot, "It's going to be a big day". Anne-Marie Chesnot, sister of released French reporter Christian, says the family intends to celebrate return of hostage.
11:03 Paris. French hostages: No ransom paid. French Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin says that no ransom was paid but that negotiations for their release was conducted by intermediaries.
04:40 The Hague. Dutch contingent to quit Iraq. The government of the Netherlands has decided to withdraw its contingent from Iraq, says Defense Minister Kamp, despite pressure from the US, the UK, Japan and Iraq.