At least 294 people were killed on Saturday as parliament finished approving the new government for Iraq. Another 66 were wounded. Bombers took a break from attacking Baghdad. Iraqi airstrikes on militant locations claimed most of the fatalities.
Lawmakers finally approved Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi‘s selections for several ministerial positions, including those at the defense and interior ministries. Filling these two posts delayed the creation of the new government.
Former P.M. Nouri al-Maliki had appointed himself head of both the defense and interior ministries in 2010 to avoid a protracted battle over them. But, he also garnered widespread accusations that he was consolidating power through the posts. Even before that, the interior ministry was feared by Sunnis and known to host "Shi’ite death squads" within its police ranks. Both posts hold power over extensive security personnel.
The new interior minister will be Mohammed al-Ghabban, who is tied to the Badr Organization. That organization was thought to be the source of the death squads, when it was the militia wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Ghabban was the compromise selection after Sunnis objected to Badr head, Hadi al-Amri.
A Sunni was selected for the defense post. Khaled al-Obeidi is from Mosul and brother to Ninewa province’s governor, Atheel al-Nujaifi. The Kurds were able to lever their power and gain six posts in all, three more than was expected.
Four people were killed and 14 were wounded when a bomb exploded at a Madaen cafe.
A bomb in Mahmoudiya killed two people and wounded seven more at a cafe.
In Baghdad, a blast killed three people and wounded 12 more in Ghazaliya.
An unexploded shell in a Falluja home finally blew up when the family, which had just fed Hit, attempted to move it. A woman and child were killed, and another five people were wounded.
In Tuz, an I.E.D. killed two civilians and wounded five more.
Unidentified gunmen killed two militants in Hit, for the second day in a row.
More than 50 militants were killed in airstrikes and shelling north of Muqdadiya.
Forty militants were killed in Diyala province during operations in October.
Airstrikes near the airport in Duluiya left 25 militants dead. Another airstrike killed nine militants and wounded 15 more near a mosque. An airstrike near a brick factor killed 12 and wounded eight. One of the dead was an emir.
Thirty militants were killed in Albu Faraj.
Another thirty were killed in Shirqat
Security forces killed 28 militants in Samarra.
Twenty-five militants were killed in Tikrit. A prominent militant leader was killed.
Airstrike killed 15 militants in Aziz Balad.
In Saniya, an airstrike killed eight militants, including their leader.
Three militants were killed in a clash near Baquba.
A prematurely exploding shell killed two militants in Jalawla.
A prominent militant leader was killed in Baiji.
An attack on al-Wajn was stopped and a number of militants were killed.
Airstrikes killed a number of militants in Albu Tuma.