At least 19 Iraqis were killed and 53 more were wounded in new attacks. Many casualties resulted from a bombing near Najaf. An incident involving U.S. and Iraqi forces left as many 10 dead near the Iranian border as well. Also, campaign season opened today across Iraq.
Campaigning for next month’s national election officially began today. The election could resolve several problems that Iraq has left hanging until a new parliament is chosen; however, if elections are found to be faulty, it could just as easily increase sectarian violence instead.
Many believe an elections blacklist that has dominated headlines in recent days will unfairly benefit candidates aligned with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and in turn help Maliki maintain power against several viable contenders. Some vow to boycott the election because of the alleged political shenanigans, but others will opt out because of general unhappiness with the state of the country.
A joint U.S.-Iraqi raid on Ali al-Sharqi has left as many as ten villagers dead and another five wounded, according to a local councilperson. The U.S. military, however, claimed that five Iranian-backed Kateb Hezbollah fighters were killed in a clash. A local police source backed the higher figures. The Missan provincial council will investigate the incident. Twelve others were arrested. Ali al-Sharqi lies near the Iranian border.
A female suicide bomber attacked a group of pilgrims heading to Najaf on a highway leading through neighboring Kufa. That attack and two more blasts left as many as six dead and 40 wounded. The group was traveling to Najaf to celebrate the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. Another twenty-two suspected Kateb Hezbollah fighters were arrested at an unnamed location near the Iranian border.
In Baghdad, a blast wounded five, including two civilians, in Shabb.
Gunmen destroyed a home in Amiriya, leaving three people with injuries.
A bomb planted on a car in Buhriz killed a man and his son.
Police in Kirkuk found a missile set for launching.
Six suspects were arrested in Mosul.