While Iraq has been off the media’s radar for some time, the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings has eclipsed the current wave of sectarian violence that preceded last week’s provincial elections in Iraq. Although the elections -the first since the US withdrawal -went off with an estimated turnout of about 51 percent, resistance was stiff.
On April 12, a bomb detonated near a Sunni mosque in Kanaan, Diyala Province, killing 14 and wounding over 40. Minutes later, another bomb went off at a Shia mosque in Baghdad. On the same day in Kirkuk, the Sahwa (Awakening) leader, Sheikh Hussein Taha, was assassinated when a sticky bomb was placed on his car. Taha had been a prominent military leader of the Sahwa near Tikrit.
Two days later, a series of attacks in Mosul, Muqtadiyah and Fallujah killed 10 more people; including Najam Saeed, a Sunni candidate in the provincial elections. Saeed was the 13th candidate killed to date. The attack in Mosul used a booby-trapped body to blow up several Iraqi Policemen.
On April 15, the same day as the Boston bombings, six IEDs were detonated in Baghdad, killing 21 people and wounding 65 others. Further attacks in Salahuddin, Ninawa; Diyala, Kirkuk; Al Anbar, Dhi Kar; and Babil provinces killed 9 more and wounded over 140. Iraqi officials maintained that the bombs utilized poisoned shrapnel, and expected the death toll to rise.