Updated at 9:01 p.m. EST, Feb. 1, 2009
Iraq is slowly returning to normal after historic provincial elections. At least three Iraqis were injured in the latest attacks that came as vehicle bans and other measures were removed across the country. One U.S. soldier was killed as well. According to Iraqi authorities, January was the most peaceful month since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
One U.S. soldier died in a non-combat situation in Kirkuk yesterday. Back in the United States, President Obama said that a substantial number of U.S. troops will return home within the year. Kirkuk was one of the few places where provincial elections were not held yesterday. Separately, a bomb left no casualties when it exploded overnight.
Although yesterday’s provincial elections were a security success, voter turnout was lower than hoped and averaged just over 50 percent across the country. Some of the measures in place prevented many from reaching a polling station, while intimidation and problems with voter rolls kept others at home. Participation was as high as about 60 percent in much of Iraq, but it was only about 40 percent in Baghdad and Anbar provinces. Unofficial projections point towards gains for Prime Minister’s Maliki’s allies, but actual results will not be known for several days. It appears that the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council may have lost some footing in the south, while a Sunni party made big gains in Ninewa. Although the turnout may seem low, it is much higher than the 2 percent reported during the last election.
A sticky bomb injured two civilians in Mada’en.
A bomb on a highway beteen Kirkuk and Tikrit injured the driver of a truck.
A bomb near a candidate’s home south of Hilla damaged the building but failed to leave any casualties.
Four people in police uniforms were arrested in Tikrit for lobbing stun grenades at voters.
Four al-Qaeda suspects were detained across Diyala province.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis