Updated at 6:06 p.m. EDT, April 20, 2010
A partial but controversial ballot recount ordered for Baghdad province is raising concerns over election manipulation and pushing Iraq towards instability at a time when politicians should be creating the next government. At least 11 Iraqis were killed and 29 more were wounded in violence across Iraq. Also, a third high-ranking al-Qaeda leader was killed during a raid this morning in northern Iraq.
Iraqiya party head, Ayad Allawi, complained publicly that the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) was pressured by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government to recount ballots in Baghdad province while ignoring his requests to look into voter fraud elsewhere. Allawi asks for "strict international monitoring" during the recount. Iraqiya won two more seats than Maliki’s State of Law party.
A Sadrist member of parliament, Bahaa al-Araji, reassured the public that the vote recount should not change the outcome of the election. He also said that the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) could change their support to the Iraqiya party if talks with State of Law fail. Meanwhile, Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi called the recount a political move and outright questioned it. Although now limited to Baghdad province, the recount could spread to other districts as the Iraqi courts look into other claims.
A suspected al-Qaeda leader was killed during a joint raid in Ninewah province. The man is believed to be Ahmed al-Obeidi, who ran al-Qaeda in Iraq‘s operations Ninewah, Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din provinces.
An Awakening Council member returned to his home in Tarmiyah only to discover that gunmen killed his wife, 22-year-old daughter, and three young children. The three youngest children were beheaded.
In Mahmoudiya, six people were wounded when a bomb was detonated at a marketplace. Five people were injured during a second blast.
In Hit, a roadside bomb killed a police colonel and two bodyguards. A vehicle ban is in effect. A second blast wounded two civilians at their home. At least one more blast was reported.
Two Iraqi servicemembers were killed in Mussayab when a remotely detonated bomb blasted them. An earlier blast left no casualties but destroyed a vehicle.
In Baghdad, a blast in a southeastern neighborhood wounded two people. Later, a separate bomb wounded four more people.
A roadside bomb in Ramadi wounded four policemen.
In Kirkuk, a high-ranking official escaped injury, but two staff members were injured in a roadside blast. Gunmen wounded another policeman. Seventeen suspects were arrested.
In Fallujah, a blast wounded two people at a home. A wanted man was captured.
A soldier was wounded during clashes at a Mosul checkpoint.
A bomb targeting a U.S. patrol in Wassit province left no casualties.
Seven suspects were detained in Basra.
Amnesty International asked Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to investigate torture allegations from hundreds of Sunni detainees at a secret prison.