At least nine Turkish soldiers were killed and two others injured after their military vehicle ran over a roadside bomb near a bridge in Kemah, Turkey. Originally, eight were reported dead, but one of the injured later died at a local hospital.

Governor Ali Gungor of the Erzincan Province has stated that after the explosion, the vehicle was attacked. Reuters states that militants with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party were responsible for the attack and that military personnel were searching for more attackers.

The attack occurred in an area where Turkey has been frequently fighting militants of the PKK. Recently, the Turkish military launched airstrikes in Iraq in an attempt to disable the group. Turkey has been fighting militants of the PKK since 1984.

Source : wikinews

White House photo by Eric Draper.

Bush making the speech
Image: White House photo by Eric Draper.

George W. Bush, the current President of the United States yesterday claimed that the level of violence in Iraq has decreased to the lowest level since Spring 2004. In a speech made yesterday, Bush claimed that “Violence is down to its lowest level since the spring of 2004, and we’re now in our third consecutive month with reduced violence levels holding steady.” He then said that “a significant reason for this sustained progress is the success of the surge.”

Bush also praised the security forces of Iraq. He cited their “increasing capability” as another reason for the reduction in violence. “We saw the capability of those forces earlier this year, when the Iraqi government launched successful military operations against Shia extremist groups in Basra, Amarah, and the Sadr City area of Baghdad,” he said. “Because of these operations, extremists who once terrorized the citizens of these communities have been driven from their strongholds.”

The President continued by stating that the Iraqi government has made progress. “Iraqi Council of Representatives has passed several major pieces of legislation this year, and Iraqi leaders are preparing for provincial elections,” he said, listing ways in which he believed the Iraqi government have progressed.

Bush continued by discussing the withdrawal of troops:

Bush claims violence in Iraq down to lowest level for four years
The progress in Iraq has allowed us to continue our policy of ‘return on success.’ We now have brought home all five of the combat brigades and the three Marine units that were sent to Iraq as part of the surge. The last of these surge brigades returned home this month. And later this year, General Petraeus will present me his recommendations on future troop levels — including further reductions in our combat forces as conditions permit.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has told the Iraqi Olympic Committee that Iraq can not field a team in the 2008 Summer Olympics, which are due to open in Beijing, China August 8, 2008.

The Olympic flag

The Olympic flag

The International Olympic committee said that it took this action “as a consequence of the ongoing political interference by the government within the sports movement in Iraq.” The Iraqi government suspended its Olympic Committee, the National Olympic Committee of Iraq, which they viewed as dysfunctional for several reasons, including the holding of illegitimate meetings, having officials serve past their post and living outside of the country. Interference by government is not permitted by the IOC.

The government of Iraq has said that the decision undermines the effort athletes put into getting a place in the Iraqi Olympic team. Dana Hussain, one of the sprinters who would have been on the Iraqi team, was reported to be distraught by the decision. According to her coach she was “crying for about two hours.” Her coach compared the decision to “finding out that a close relative has died.”

The deadline to register for five of the seven would-be Iraqi Olympians has passed. However, if the National Olympic Committee of Iraq is reinstated, the possibility exists that its two sprinters may be able to compete, if they register before the track and field

Source : wikinews

Obama meets with troops in Iraq (NECN: Iraq) – Barack Obama is getting his first on-the-ground inspection of Iraq. The Democratic presidential candidate met with troops on the ground in Iraq. His stop in Baghdad is the second major leg of a war zone tour that opened in Afghan…