Bomb and gun attacks in Iraq have killed nine people, including a mayor, four soldiers and two family members of a Shiite cleric, and wounded 29 others, security officials said on Wednesday.
“A car bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol in al-Zuhour neighborhood, killing three soldiers and wounding three civilians” in Mosul in Iraq’s north, a first lieutenant in the Mosul police said.
“Another car bomb exploded ... in the same neighborhood, killing two civilians and wounding 16,” he said, adding that the bombs went off at about 9:00 am (0600 GMT).
A doctor at Mosul General Hospital confirmed the deaths, saying: “We received five bodies, including three soldiers.”
In Iskandiriyah, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Baghdad, “unknown armed men attacked the house of Safaa al-Mussawi, a Friday prayer leader, with bombs” during the night, a police first lieutenant said.
The Shiite cleric “and his son were seriously injured and his wife and daughter were killed,” the officer said.
A source in the office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shiite cleric, confirmed the attack on Mussawi’s home.
The mayor of Iskandiriyah was also killed on Tuesday night, a police source said.
“Armed men killed the mayor of the Iskandiriyah sub-district yesterday night. His name was Ali al-Massudi, from the Sadr movement,” the source said, referring to the movement of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
One Iraqi soldier was killed and another wounded in an attack by gunmen on a patrol in the Iskandiriyah area, an army captain said.
And a roadside bomb wounded seven Iranian pilgrims in a bus north of Baghdad on Wednesday, an Iraqi army officer said.
The toll was confirmed by Dr Kawyan Aziz of Khanaqin Hospital, who said they were not seriously wounded.
Down to 15 bases
There are just 15 American military bases left in Iraq ahead of a year-end U.S. withdrawal, down from a peak of 505, a U.S. general said on Wednesday.
“U.S. Forces-Iraq (USF-I) now resides on 15 bases - nine of those are U.S., and six are partnered (with Iraqi forces),” said Brigadier General Rock Donahue, head of USF-I's engineering directorate.
There are roughly 39,000 U.S. soldiers and a further 38,500 contractors on those bases, according to a factsheet distributed by the military.
All of those bases must be handed over to Iraqi forces and U.S. troops must be out of Iraq by the end of the year, under the terms of a 2008 bilateral security pact.
U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed on October 21 that all American troops will leave Iraq by the end of 2011, bringing to a close a war that has stretched for more than eight years.