Iraq: US, Bulgarian troops killed; Report: US forces back illegal arrests of Arabs and Turkmens
A US marine died in a roadside bomb explosion in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, the US Army said on Wednesday. The American was killed on Tuesday during a combat operation in the city, some 50 km west of Baghdad, the military said in a statement.
Also on Wednesday, Iraqi police battled with and killed two gunmen in the northern city of Kirkuk.
Late on Tuesday, two Bulgarian troops were killed and another injured when their vehicle slid from a dike into a canal about 55 kilometers southeast Diwaniya, a city in south-central Iraq where about 400 Bulgarian soldiers are deployed.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported Wednesday Iraqi police and security units, led by Kurdish political parties and backed by the U.S. military, have abducted hundreds of Arabs and Turkmens in Kirkuk and put them in prisons in Kurdish-held northern Iraq.
The men have been transferred secretly and in violation of Iraqi law to prisons in the Kurdish cities of Irbil and Sulaymaniyah, with the knowledge of U.S. forces. The detainees, including merchants, members of tribal families and soldiers, have often remained missing for months; some have been tortured, according to released prisoners and the Kirkuk police chief.
Some abductions occurred more than a year ago. But according to U.S. officials, Kirkuk police and Arab leaders, the campaign intensified after the Jan. 30 elections consolidated the two main Kurdish parties' control over the Kirkuk provincial government.