During a speech today, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki re-iterated his intention to prevent several provinces from legally converting into semi-autonomous regions. The premier claimed the status changes would tear Iraq apart. However, his stubbornness in the matter, particularly in relation to Diyala province, ignited a political crisis that led to increased attacks.
He also promised to prosecute Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who fled to Iraqi Kurdistan, the only region that currently enjoys semi-autonomous status. Hashemi claims he is innocent of politically motivated charges and countered with his own accusations of torture and harassment on the part of Maliki’s office. Hashemi wants his trial on terrorism charges to take place outside of Maliki’s influence. If he cannot get a fair trail, he will seek international help.
At least 15 Iraqis were killed and 23 more were wounded in new violence.
A tribal sheikh, his brother, his wife and toddler son were killed in a roadside bombing in Amiriyat al-Falluja. A magnetic bomb killed two more people.
One electricity policeman was killed and four more were wounded during a drive-by shooting in Kirkuk.
A roadside bomb in Qura Zuba killed one person and wounded three more.
A blast in Jbela wounded the police chief and five others, including two civilian bystanders.
In Garma, a bomb planted in a Sahwa member’s car exploded and killed him.
Gunmen killed a teacher at his home in Qadisiya.
A sticky bomb killed a Sahwa member in Falluja.
In Baghdad, a policeman was killed during a drive-by shooting in Karrada. Gunmen trying to assassinate the head of the investment commission wounded a bodyguard instead. An Interior Ministry employee was shot dead.
Three soldiers were wounded during a blast last night in Abu Ghraib.
Two rockets struck the Mo’tasam home of a Salah ad Din council member, but no one was hurt.
A car bomb was found and defused in Suwayra.