Updated at 7:31 p.m. EST, Feb. 24, 2011
At least 24 Iraqis were killed and 40 more were wounded today. The worst attack occurred during festivities in Ramadi. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki attempted to dissuade protesters from attending mass rallies tomorrow, and a shoe-throwing journalist is back in Iraq and back in the news.
In a televised speech, P.M. Maliki claimed Saddam loyalists are behind tomorrow’s scheduled protests and al-Qaeda is planning attacks against demonstrators. Despite the twin accusations he will permit the gatherings. The demonstrators’ main complaints have been against poor services and government corruption. Although protests have not reached the same crescendo as in other Arab countries, they did turn deadly in Suleimaniya and Halabja where a complicated Kurdish dimension is added to anti-government complaints.
Upon his recent return to Iraq to join in the demonstrations, a journalist known for throwing his shoes at former U.S. President George Bush was detained for questioning. Muntadhar al-Zeidi left Iraq in 2009 after spending nine months in jail for the incident.
Fifteen people were killed and 21 more were wounded in Ramadi when a suicide bomber attacked a group of people commemorating the Prophet Mohammed’s birth anniversary. Casualties are expected to rise and police are on the lookout for more bombs.
In Mosul, gunmen killed one person and wounded nine others at a checkpoint.
In Baghdad, a blast wounded three in a southeastern neighborhood. A blast in Hurriya wounded three more, including police. Two more people were wounded during a bombing in Rustamiya. A body was found in Shabb.
A sticky bomb killed an Interior Ministry official in Tal Afar.
Gunmen in Garma killed the brother of a tribal chief.
Police killed a suicide bomber in Heet before he could detonate his explosives near a military position.
Border police confiscated C-4 explosives.
A senior al-Qaeda suspect was captured in Baiji.