At least two Iraqis were killed and 12 others were wounded in attacks. Basra saw a rare attack. Meanwhile, Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi traveled to Damascus to help mend relations that were damaged when Baghdad blamed Syria for enabling deadly bombings last year. At the same time, Iraq has also improved relations with Kuwait by appointing its first ambassador in 20 years.
An arrest warrant has been issued against Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for the 2003 murder of a rival cleric. Although he had previously been accused of the murder of Majid al-Khoie, that original warrant lapsed. It was renewed quietly nearly a month ago in what some think is a political maneuver to undermine Sadrist candidates. Only yesterday Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki denied rumors that the warrant had been issued. Today, his office merely claimed they were uninvolved in the warrant process.
In election news, Sunni voters have resigned themselves to voting for alternative candidates after hundreds were banned on alleged ties to the Ba’ath Party; however, many are also expecting violence to follow what they see as a tainted election. Separately, P.M. Maliki refocused his campaign on future oil gains, likely courting voters in the south. Also, a spokesperson for the Iraqiya bloc worries that overseas polling centers are not being run properly.
A hand grenade was thrown at a café in Basra, where it wounded eight students. Violence is severly underreported in Basra.
In Mosul, a hand grenade was tossed at a U.S. patrol, but the blast wounded a woman and her son instead. Another grenade was tossed, wounding two solders at a polling center. Gunmen killed a civilian.
A blast targeting a police director in Kirkuk left no casualties.
A man was killed as he was building an explosive device at his home in Zap.
Three Naqshabandiya Army members were arrested in Rashad.
Fourteen bomb squad teams will patrol Wassit province polling stations, using bomb detectors. Officials have decided not to impose a vehicle ban on election day. Also, two men were arrested for tearing up campaign posters.
Anbar province has closed roads that lead to polling centers.
Read more by Margaret Griffis
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