At least 16 people have been killed in a car bomb attack in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
The blast devastated a restaurant in the centre and shattered relative peace in the southern city compared to regions further north. They have been ravaged by a Sunni insurgency against the Shi’ite-led government. Meanwhile, fighting rages on between US forces and insurgents in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, near the Syrian border – a major infiltration route for foreign fighters heading for Baghdad and other major cities. On Wednesday, US aircraft attacked two bridges over the Euphrates river. The US army claims to have captured 200 “terrorists” there over the past week. On Wednesday, they reportedly destroyed a safe house for insurgents and killed several non-Iraqi fighters. In other news, the US army said it had secured the release of an American and an Iraqi hostage during a raid on a farm near Baghdad.