6:34 p.m. EST, Jan. 20, 2010
At least eight Iraqis were killed and 65 more were wounded in recent violence. Most of the attacks were in northern Iraq, but one bold robbery attempt in Baghdad ended in a shootout. Meanwhile, the De-Ba’athification process came under fire again. Also, a lawyer for Tariq Aziz is looking for international help in freeing his infirm client.
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said at a meeting with U.N. Representative Ad Melkert that the De-Ba’athification process has been conducted illegally. Over 500 people from 14 lists are banned from running in March elections. Among them are current and popular lawmakers, who claim the process as been politicized. The de-Ba’thification process could be intertwined with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s desire to maintain control after March elections. He has been blaming Ba’athists for a string of bombings that begin in August of last year in an attempt to divert attention from security failures. Late in the day, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced he will travel to Baghdad to help smooth over tensions.
A lawyer working for former Deputy Minister Tariq Aziz is asking both U.S. President Barack Obama and the Vatican to help secure Aziz, who is Chrisitan, an early release. Aziz recently suffered a major stroke while in detention at Camp Cropper. He was found guilty for his role in the executions of several merchants accused of profiteering, but his family would like to see him released on humanitarian grounds.
In Mosul, a suicide bomber struck at a security post, wounding 45 people, including 22 civilians. Another bomb was defused. A bomb planted on a car belonging to a policeman killed him in Wadi Hajar. An intelligence agent was gunned down in Bab Lakash.
In Baghdad, gunmen stormed a jewelry store in Binouk, where they killed two merchants. As they attempted to flee, they were drawn into a shootout with police. One policeman was killed and seven other people wounded, including civilians and a gunman.
A Kirkuk police officer was killed and two bodyguards were wounded in a roadside bomb attack. Seven soldiers were wounded in a bombing on a highway leading to Dahuk.
A booby-trapped motorbike in Baquba exploded, killing one person and wounding four others.
No casualties were reported after a policeman’s home was demolished in an explosion in Fallujah.
Two al-Qaeda suspects were captured in connection with recent attacks in Tal Afar.
Three people caught planting a bomb were arrested near Saidiya.
Fifteen suspects were detained in Basra province.
In Diwaniya, a weapons cache was discovered. Police defused a bomb west of town.
A U.S. base in Yathrib was hit with rocket fire.