Updated at 11:53 p.m. EST, Feb. 28, 2010
At least eight Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in central and northern Iraq. Thousands of Christians and supporters spent the day protesting attacks against the minority group. Meanwhile, P.M. Maliki came out in support of an election blacklist while distancing from its creators. Also, there may be many more pre-election deaths occurring in Iraq than are being reported.
An anonymous source at the al-Kindi hospital in Baghdad reports that 67 people were treated for gunshot wounds in a 24-hour period last Thursday. The report has not been confirmed by other sources. The source also stated that 10-20 people have been shot every day, since about three weeks ago. Most of them die before reaching the hospital. Accurate casualty reports have always been a problem, even in Baghdad. If these reports are true then Baghdad officials have been keeping these large figures under wraps for the last month. Sixty-seven shootings in one day would eclipse all but the most violent days Baghdad saw during the surge.
In Mosul, thousands of Christians demonstrated against attacks targeting them. Many have left the city to find protection in smaller, Christian villages. Meanwhile, Arabs and Kurds have been pointing the finger at each other for the attacks, while denying their own responsibility in the matter. A similar protest took place in Baghdad.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to praise an election blacklist that he claims will not affect turnout even though many believe it targeted Sunni candidates. The ban purportedly prevents Ba’ath Party supporters from running in the election. At the same time, Maliki distanced himself from the two men believed behind the blacklist, Ali al-Lami and Ahmed Chalabi. Chalabi perhaps has gained the most from the blacklist. Maliki has also been accused of giving away guns in exchange for votes in southern Iraq.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh warns that a similar blacklist, also created by the Accountability and Justice Commission, for security personnel cannot be implemented as they all were vetted and hired legally.
Nine people were wounded in Tarmiyah, where a bike bomb targeted security officials, including Awakening Council members.
An Iraqi soldier was killed during a drive-by shooting in Kut.
Three people were wounded during a blast in Yusufiya.
The body of a man wearing Kurdish attire was found in Kirkuk.
Twelve suspects were arrested in Basra province.