With no let up to militant violence in Iraq, the government has declared a 60-day state of emergency. That could entail curfews and extra powers for the police and military. It will cover all areas except the Kurdish north.
Baghdad did not escape today’s violence. A suicide car bomber attacked a US convoy, there are reports one soldier was killed. Also in the capital, the finance minister survived an assasination attempt that killed two others. The town of Haditha has seen the bloodiest assault, 21 police officers were taken hostage then shot dead. The gunmen are said to have gone off with their weapons and vehicles. The surge in violence comes ahead of an expected offensive in the rebel held towns of Falluja and Ramadi. Falluja sustained another night of heavy bombing said to be the most intense so far. With much of the city reduced to rubble most of the population has fled. US troops have massed on its outskirts waiting for the order to launch the operation to crush what they believe are thousands of rebels hiding in the city. They hope this will help the government contain the raging insurgency before elections scheduled for January.