Updated at 8:10 p.m. EST, Dec. 14, 2010
At first, it seemed the religious holiday of Ashuraa would result in fewer reports of violence, but several large attacks have occurred in the last few days, today included. At least nine Iraqis were killed and 72 more were killed across the country in the latest brutalities. The holiday culminates on Thursday and, incidentally, highlights the schism between Sunnis and the Shi’ites who are marking the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali. Shi’ite processions and trips to Karbala make these pilgrims easy targets for violence.
After a 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Ayad Allawi has accepted an offer to head the newly created National Council for Strategic Policies. The 20-member council must approve any security or foreign policy decisions made by Maliki and was created to address the issue of Maliki’s concentration of power.
In Baghdad, three Shi’ite pilgrims were killed and 19 others were wounded in Ghazaliya when a bomb exploded on a heavily traveled road that leads to Karbala. Three policemen were wounded in a blast downtown. A blast in Saidiya wounded three more policemen. A sticky bomb wounded four civilians in Doura. A body was found in Amil. Four people were wounded in a procession yesterday in Hurriya. A municipal worker was killed in Amiriya.
Two pilgrims were killed and 22 others were wounded as their procession traveled through Khalis.
Clashes between security elements and tribesmen in northern Dhi Qar left nine security personnel wounded and 12 tribesmen arrested.
A bomb in Kirkuk killed one person and wounded two others.
In Mosul, gunmen shot at a checkpoint but armed citizens returned fire, wounding two of them.
Three suspects were arrested in Garma.
U.S. forces complained about continued rocket attacks on their base at Basra airport.