As Iraqiya lawmakers returned to parliament today, the Interior Ministry announced the arrest of 16 Hashemi bodyguards they have connected to terrorist acts. Fortunately, reports of violence were light today. At least two Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded across the country.
The Interior Ministry announced that its personnel arrested 16 of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi’s bodyguards on assassination charges. The news comes just two days after Hashemi launched an international appeal for the release of two female staffers that Amnesty International believes are in physical danger. Last month, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Hashemi of supporting terrorists and subsequently had an arrest warrant issued for his political rival.
The accusations also came as U.S. troops left Iraq, and the Iraqiya party walked out on parliament over Maliki’s failures to honor a year-old agreement. The party also criticized Maliki’s attempts to thwart provincial autonomy bids and condemned the arrests of hundreds of Sunnis. Iraqiya recently announced an end to the boycott. Today, its members returned to parliament for the first time in weeks.
On the surface, these arrests and harassment appear to be directed at Sunnis and Maliki’s rivals, so critics feel this is a personal or political vendetta on the part of Maliki. The campaign has already triggered an increase in sectarian attacks, but it is feared it may also foment widespread violence or civil war.
A roadside bomb killed one civilian and wounded four more driving in Mussayab.
Gunmen fired on a market in Dawasir and killed one civilian.
Two civilians were wounded by a blast on a highway in Anbar province.
Gunmen wounded two people, including one civilian, when they attacked a Muqdadiya checkpoint.
A sticky bomb wounded a police officer in Shirqat.