On the day of the US election, American and Iraqi forces were on the offensive, with outbreaks of violence across Iraq. The city of Baquba is just one of the places where local police carried out raids, desperate to try to prevent attacks like Friday’s killing of the provincial deputy governor. Elsewhere, a suicide car bombing outside the Education Ministry in Baghdad left at least half a dozen people dead and many more wounded.
A bomb also struck an Iraqi National Guard truck in the capital, killing six soldiers and wounding four others. Two died after a blast outside a security forces building in Mosul. In Samarra, the US has denied previous police reports that an American soldier had been captured, while residents are fleeing the restive city of Falluja which, along with Ramadi, is bracing for a US-led assault. Meanwhile, in the worst case of oil sabotage since the war in Iraq began, rebels have blown up three main pipelines in the north of the country, halting exports to Turkey and flows to refineries. Also, in Baghdad, it has been confirmed that gunmen kidnapped an American, a Nepalese national and a Fillipino who worked for a Saudi contractor. The latest violence comes as the US begins to increase its troop numbers to provide security for Iraqi elections due in January. About 4,000 new soldiers are being added to the current US force of 138,000.