An expected surge in violence accompanying a major Shi’ite religious observance this week began early this morning. Hilla and Baghdad were the hardest hit cities. Across the country, at least 36 people were killed and 121 more were wounded in all reported attacks. Also, the Iraqi government said that a former top diplomat under Saddam Hussein will be executed next year. Meanwhile, security for American diplomats has been tightened.
Because of Ashuraa observances, reports of violence have been scant the last few days except for significant attacks. Only six casualties were reported today and all of them survived. However, there were a number of important news stories in the headlines today.
At first, it seemed the religious holiday of Ashuraa would result in fewer reports of violence, but several large attacks have occurred in the last few days, today included. At least seven Iraqis were killed and 69 more were killed across the country in the latest brutalities. The holiday culminates on Thursday and, incidentally, highlights the schism between Sunnis and the Shi’ites who are marking the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali. Shi’ite processions and trips to Karbala make these pilgrims easy targets for violence.
More attacks against Shi’ite pilgrims occurred today, while Christians are themselves on the move to safer locations both within and outside Iraq’s borders. At least nine Iraqis were killed and 32 more were wounded in the latest violence Meanwhile, Adm. Mike Mullen met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today to discuss the United States and Iraq’s military relationship after the withdrawal of troops next year.
Updated at 11:51 a.m. EST, Dec. 13, 2010
While Ashuraa observances may be dampening reports of violence, two significant attacks made the headlines, including one against Shi’ite pilgrims participating in an Ashuraa procession. At least 22 Iraqis were killed and 91 more were wounded in those attacks and two others.
Updated at 8:19 p.m. Dec. 8, 2010
At least four Iraqis were killed and 23 more were wounded in the latest violence. Seven Iranian pilgrims were also wounded in an attack while on their way to Karbala for Ashuraa observances. That holiday, which unintentionally marks the schism between Shi’ite and Sunni Islam, culminates next week and could mean an increase in violence, particularly for Iranian pilgrims. Also, A U.S. soldier died of wounds received during a sniper attack.
At least four Iraqis were killed and two more were wounded in light violence. Several political stories are still in the headlines, including those of the Blackwater case, the bombing in Ramadi last week, and the resolution of the Peter Moore abduction. Also, a mass grave dating to the Saddam regime was found in Karbala. … Continue reading “Sunday: 4 Iraqis Killed, 2 Wounded”
Updated at 8:50 p.m. EST, Dec. 30, 2009 Deadly bomb attacks in two Iraqis cities overshadowed the news that a British hostage was released after two and half years in captivity. At least 41 were killed and 138 more were wounded in those explosions and in other violence across the country. Also, Iraq sent a … Continue reading “Wednesday: 41 Iraqis Killed, 138 Wounded”
Officials estimate that six to eight million pilgrims were in Karbala for the climax of Ashura observances and rituals. Over 100,000 of them were foreigners. Although no incidents were reported there, attacks against pilgrims returning to their homes continued. At least seven Iraqis were killed and 42 more were wounded across the country. A roadside … Continue reading “Sunday: 7 Iraqis Killed, 42 Wounded”
Updated at 12:58 p.m. EST, Dec. 27, 2009 Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are in Karbala to participate in the climax of Ashura observances. Despite increased security, attacks kept some pilgrims from reaching the holy city. At least 16 Iraqis were killed and 51 more were wounded across the country. Also, U.S, Army Maj. Gen. … Continue reading “Saturday: 16 Iraqis Killed, 51 Wounded”