Updated at 9:01 p.m. EST, Feb. 1, 2009
Iraq is slowly returning
to normal after historic provincial elections. At least three Iraqis were injured
in the latest attacks that came as vehicle bans and other measures were removed
across the country. One U.S. soldier was killed as well. According to Iraqi
authorities, January was the most peaceful
month since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
soldier died in a non-combat situation in Kirkuk yesterday. Back
in the United States, President Obama said
that a substantial number of U.S. troops will return home within the year. Kirkuk
was one of the few places where provincial
elections were not held yesterday. Separately, a bomb left no casualties
when it exploded overnight.
Although yesterday's provincial elections
were a security success, voter
turnout was lower than hoped and averaged just over 50
percent across the country. Some of the measures
in place prevented many from reaching a polling station, while intimidation and
problems with voter rolls kept
others at home. Participation was as high as about 60
percent in much of Iraq, but it was only about 40
percent in Baghdad and Anbar provinces. Unofficial projections point
towards gains for Prime Minister's Maliki's allies, but actual results will
not be known for several days. It appears
that the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council may have lost some footing in the south,
while a Sunni party made
big gains in Ninewa. Although the turnout may seem low, it is much higher
than the 2
percent reported during the last election.
A sticky bomb injured
two civilians in Mada'en.
A bomb on a highway beteen Kirkuk
and Tikrit injured the
driver of a truck.
In Mosul, a vehicle ban was lifted.
South of the city, gunmen blew up the home of a political candidate, but no
casualties were reported.
A bomb near a candidate's home south of
Hilla damaged the building
but failed to leave any casualties.
Four people in police uniforms were
in Tikrit for lobbing stun grenades at voters.
Four al-Qaeda suspects
were detained across Diyala
Compiled by Margaret Griffis