It is reported that out of the 500 Iraqi soldiers in the 36th (Commando) Battalion who are going into Fallujah with the first wave of Marines, only 170 of them turned up. This is yet another example of the new Iraqi forces being wholly unreliable, and is especially worrying as the battalion was meant to be an elite outfit. (Interestingly, one of these units is called the 2nd Ministry of the Interior Commandos - an odd revival of Soviet terminology. The Soviet Union had, and Russia still has, heavily armed paramilitary forces answering to the Interior Ministry known as the OMON for short. The originals have a truly fearsome reputation.)
Further, it is reported that as many as 40 Iraqi police have been slaughtered in Baqubah, 40 miles NE of Baghdad and on the way to Kurdistan, where the state of emergency and curfew are not in force. As far as limited information goes, the raid seems to have followed a similar pattern to those at the weekend, and indeed one months ago in Fallujah where insurgents contained the ICDC garrison while they stormed the police station and killed all the cops. The insurgent strategy of going after the ING and the police remains clear.
Meanwhile, eight were killed in a multiple car bombing of churches in Baghdad.