Violence Leaves 26 Killed in Iraq, as Country Ponders Maliki Third Term

Diyala province was the focus of attacks today. A significant bombing and the execution of several people took place there. Meanwhile, several dumped bodies were discovered south and west of Baghdad. Overall, at least 26 Iraqis were killed and 55 more were wounded across the country. Despite the violence, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said, ahead of the U.S. withdrawal, that the Iraqi government is capable of defending itself.

In political news, Fadhil Mohammed Jawad, who is a legal adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said the premier is well within his rights to run for a third term as prime minister, even though Maliki previously promised this would be his last term. Although Maliki’s State of Law party lost last year’s election to the rival Iraqiya, several months of machinations allowed him to return to the office. Maliki has not kept all the promises he made in order to remain premier, and some critics have accused him of using this term to consolidate his power. It is unclear why Jawad chose this time to make the declaration.

A large car bomb exploded at a market in Khalis, leaving 10 dead and 30 wounded A 10-foot (3-meter) wide crater was created in the blast. A number of cars were destroyed. Special forces dismissed the local police force for the lapse in security. There has been much bad blood in recent years between the government in ethnically mixed province and that in Baghdad, encouraging mistrust between their security forces as well.

Nearby, in Buhriz, gunmen attacked three homes belonging to former Awakening Councils (Sahwa) members. Eight people were killed and five more were wounded after the gunmen lined the victims up against the wall and shot them. Two policemen were wounded in a blast as they tried to reach the scene of the massacre. A number of people were arrested in connection.

A bomb targeting Minister of Environment Sarkoun Slewa’s convoy as it traveled through Taji wounded one bodyguard and three others. A separate bombing wounded seven security elements.

In Mosul, two bombers were killed before they could detonate their explosives. Another man was killed while trying to plant a bomb. A bomb blast wounded two children instead of the police it was meant for.

Two dumped bodies were found in Hashimiya.

A decomposing body was found in Mahaweel.

In Haditha, the beheaded body of Sheikh Thalaj Zaalan was discovered.

A bomb meant for U.S. troops in Hilla killed one civilian.

In Baghdad, five people were wounded during a bombing in Adhamiya.

Six men convicted on terrorism charges were executed.

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Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has
been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.