Updated at 5:08 p.m. EST, Mar. 10, 2011
At least eight Iraqis were killed and 19 more were wounded in the latest round of violence. Again, almost all reported attacks were in the capital. Protests also continue, much to the chagrin of the prime minister who went on the defensive today.
Amnesty International warned that a number of missing Iraqi protestors could be facing torture while in detention. An anonymous Interior Ministry official promised that all of this week’s detained demonstrators had already been released, but those who had been arrested in earlier protests reported extended detentions and torture. Giving more weight to this fear are the several secret prisons discovered last year.
In reaction to the small but daily protests taking place around the country, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appeared before parliament to defend his performance and lay some blame on parliament for Iraq’s troubles. Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq also responded by suggesting that the protests are against accumulating corruption not the current government, but he also added that Maliki should step down if his government fails to meet a 100-day target Maliki himself has set. Meanwhile, U.N.E.S.C.O. issued a statement condemning the recent murder of a journalist who had exposed such corruption.
Mutlaq further complained that he has not been granted the powers necessary to achieve the tasks of his office. Interestingly, Mutlaq was banned from running in last year’s national election through a decree from the Accountability and Justice Committee (a.k.a. De-Ba’athification Committee), but parliament eventually allowed his return to politics. The De-Ba’athification Committee was controversially used to bar hundreds of candidates from running in that election.
In Baghdad, a blast in the Sheikh Omer neighborhood wounded five people. Four policemen were wounded when a bomb blasted their patrol in Doura. Three policemen were wounded in Ghazaliya during a separate bombing. A blast targeting a police patrol in Za’afaraniya wounded three people, two of them civilians. A bomb left at a Karrada liquor store wounded one civilian as it destroyed the store. Two civilians were wounded in last night’s bombing on Palestine Street. A bomb wounded one person in Hurriya. A late day robbery on a gold shop left six dead, including four policemen and two civilians.
Two civilians were killed in separate incidents in Garma.
A body found in Missan province bore bullet wounds.
Five men suspected of burning down the Hawija council building were arrested in Riyadh.
Police arrested three suspects in Amara.
Ninewa police released 12 detainees in response to protestor’s demands.
The Interior Ministry appointed a new quick response commander in Wassit province.
A frequently targeted pipeline that delivers oil to Turkey was shutdown after a bomb attack 70 miles to the west of Kirkuk. Authorities expect repairs to be finished within five days. There are enough reserves stored in Turkey to accommodate the temporary shutdown.