Bombs kill 22 as Iraq locks down for vote results
BAGHDAD: Iraqi insurgents killed at least 22 people in two simultaneous bomb blasts in central Baghdad on Thursday, challenging a security clampdown on the capital ahead of the release of the results of last month’s elections.
International monitors, asked to review complaints from minority Sunni Arabs about election fraud, delivered a report concluding that the vote was broadly fair, but adding that a new government should be inclusive of all Iraq’s communities.
Fearing a surge in attacks by Sunni Arab rebels, the Shia and Kurdish-led government sealed off several Iraqi cities and sent more troops and police onto Baghdad’s streets on Thursday at the start of a two-day security operation.
But hours after police had set up extra checkpoints throughout the city, a police patrol was hit by a blast in central Baghdad. There were conflicting reports over whether the explosion had been caused by a car bomb or explosives hidden in a wooden handcart on the side of the road. agencies