BAGHDAD — In the early hours of Dec. 6, a group of armed men killed four Iraqi policemen at a checkpoint in west Baghdad.
The armed men attacked the checkpoint and killed a policeman on duty and three others who were off-duty. The policemen murdered had been responsible for guarding shops and vendors at Abu Ghraib’s vegetable market, the location of a former American prison and a neighbourhood where Al-Qaeda fighters are active.
Last month, a group of armed individuals, disguised in Iraqi army uniforms, attacked the same area and killed 13 villagers, whose bodies were found later. The victims died from gunshot wounds to their heads. They included a local leader in the Iraqi Sunni Party who had assisted the fight against Al-Qaeda.
Acts of violence in Iraq were generally limited this year. Nonetheless, explosions and attacks still occur in the country. A recent explosion of a bomb-fitted car resulted in the death of three Iraqi soldiers north of Tikrit, the birthplace of deposed President Saddam Hussein, north of Baghdad. The car exploded while the soldiers were travelling in it.
On Dec. 7, Iraq witnessed a number of shooting incidents across the country. These included the death of a private security guard working outside the main headquarters of the National Unity Coalition in northern Kirkuk, headed by Sunni politicians.
In November, however, the number of civilian victims in Iraq dropped to its lowest figure since the American invasion in 2003. The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported that 88 civilians were killed during the month, the first time that number was less than 100 since the war. This decrease stood in contrast to expectations of increased acts of violence prior to the national elections, scheduled for January 2010.
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat/Kuwait Times/Gulf Times/The Jordan Times