Iraqis turned out to vote today in their country’s first free election in a half-century, defying insurgents who launched deadly suicide bombings and mortar strikes at polling stations. By midday, at least 36 people were dead but the violence had slowed and voting picked up.
The governor of the Baghdad region, known for co-operating closely with American troops, was assassinated along with six bodyguards as he drove to work in yet another bloody day of insurgent attacks that exposed grave security flaws in Iraq with elections less than a month away.
Iraq’s interim prime minister warned that insurgents are trying to foment sectarian civil war as well as derail elections, while thousands of mourners turned out for funerals in the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala a day after car bombs killed 67 people.
Iraq’s interim prime minister said today that it was up to the Iraqi Special Tribunal to decide whether Saddam Hussein and his henchmen should face capital punishment on war crimes charges, the Arab language television station Al-Arabiya reported in Baghdad.