Updated at 7:12 p.m. EST, Feb. 19, 2009
At least 20 Iraqis were killed and 31 more were wounded in renewed violence across the country. No Coalition deaths were reported, but a U.S. soldier confessed to the “execution style” killing of an Iraqi detainee in his care. Meanwhile, the mayor of Mosul said that recent peaceful elections hide a still violent city, just as official election results there and elsewhere were released.
Official results from provincial elections were released. In Anbar province, allegations of voter fraud paid off for the Awakening Councils, as they now have won largest number of seats. When early results pointed to their loss last month, Sunni leaders said they had evidence fraud and threatened violence if the allegations were not taken seriously. In Basra, close allies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki received 37% of the vote but received over 50% of the seats thanks to a byzantine allocation system. Up north in Ninewa province, Sunni groups retook power.
Journalist shoe-thrower Muntadhar al-Zaidi told an Iraqi court today that he was tortured during interrogation. The court adjourned to gather more information, but not before al-Zaidi’s lawyers put forth that the shoe-tossing protest was completely lawful.
In Mosul, a suicide car bomber killed a policeman and wounded seven others, including two more policemen, in the Wadi Hagar area. A roadside bomb killed a policeman in a western neighborhood. A separate bomb wounded another policeman. A third roadside bomb, targeting a police patrol, wounded a civilian instead. Gunmen shot dead a shopkeeper and an Iraqi soldier in separate incidents. A man was killed, and then the assailants drove off in his car. Also, a car bomb was defused without incident.
A roadside bomb in Balad Ruz killed four Iraqi soldiers and wounded two others.
One policeman was killed and another person was wounded when a bomb planted near a Garma police station exploded.
Three bodies were discovered in Abu Seif.
A roadside bomb in Garma wounded four people.
In Fallujah, two civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb blasted them. In what could be the same incident, a sticky bomb attached to a policeman’s car killed his wife and father and wounded the policeman.
A wanted man was captured in Suwayra.
A stockpile of weapons and explosives was discovered in a village near Kirkuk. Morgue officials released 14 unidentified bodies for burial. According to Muslim tradition, the dead should be buried immediately; however, the custom is often set aside for unidentified victims so that relatives have the chance to find them.
Najaf airport officials are making preparations for the influx of foreign celebrants who will arrive there to observe Muhammad’s birthday. Many visitors are expected to visit holy shrines across the province. The holiday falls on or near March 8, depending on the sighting of the moon.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis