Updated at 9:38 p.m. EST, Jan. 30, 2010
An increase in violence targeting Shi’ite pilgrims added to today’s casualty figures. At least five Iraqis were killed and 41 more were wounded in sectarian and other assaults. At least one Azerbaijani pilgrim was killed, while another two were wounded as well. Hundreds of thousands of Shi’ites are now traveling to Karbala for Arbaeen observances. Many are on foot, making them more vulnerable; however, the worst attack that occurred was against security personnel in Samarra.
The head of the Awakening Councils (Sahwa) warned that March-election turnout in Iraq’s Anbar province could be low thanks to an election blacklist created by the De-Ba’athification Committee. Ahmed Abu Risha also threatened to carry Sunni reaction farther and call for an outright boycott of the election, which could throw the entire country into disarray. Many believe that the blacklist unfairly targets popular Sunni politicians and candidates. Yesterday, the head of the southern clans council, Sheikh Kadhom al-Tai’e, also threatened a boycott over the barring.
A suicide bomber struck at a falafel restaurant near a Samarra shrine. At least two people were killed and 25 others were wounded, including policemen and Sahwa members. The restaurant is frequented by security personnel. A curfew is in effect.
In Baghdad, gunmen lobbed a hand grenade at pilgrims traveling through the Saidiya neighborhood, killing one and wounding two others. A roadside bomb blast, also in Saidiya, killed another pilgrim and wounded four more. In nearby Doura, two pilgrims were wounded in a small arms attack. A bomb in western Baghdad wounded a justice ministry official.
An I.E.D. blast in Touz Khormato wounded three people, including a policeman.
A soccer player discovered a bomb hidden in athletic clothing at a field in Tal Afar. It was defused safely.
In Nasariya, a man was arrested and a bike loaded with explosives was rendered safe.
Fourteen suspects were detained in Basra.
Two al-Qaeda suspects and a doctor were arrested during operations in Baghdad and Haditha.
A Naqshabandiya Army suspect was captured in Baiji.
Security cameras have been installed on the border with Syria.