An Iraqi soldier mans a checkpoint in Baghdad on February 6 (epa)
February 7, 2007 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has urged his country's military commanders to speed up preparations for a long-awaited security operation in Baghdad.
Al-Maliki said the delay had allowed insurgents to step up attacks that have killed hundreds in recent weeks.
At least 51 Iraqis were killed or found dead around the country on February 6. The U.S. military announced two more U.S. soldiers had been killed.
Iran has demanded the release of one of its diplomats who was seized in Baghdad on February 4 by armed men allegedly wearing Iraqi Army uniforms. Tehran said it held the United States responsible for the diplomat's "safety and life."
The United States denies any of its troops or Iraqis that report to them were involved in the abduction.
On The Verge Of Civil War
The Imam Al-Mahdi Army on parade (epa)
HAS THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ BECOME A CIVIL WAR? Many observers have concluded that the tit-for-tat sectarian violence that emerged after the February 2006 bombing of a mosque in Samarra has become a full-blown civil war.... (more)