A bomb ripped through a Baghdad bus today, killing at least two passengers and wounding seven, an Iraqi security official told reporters. The minibus transporting workers to their offices was travelling through the mainly-Shiite neighbourhood of Mashtal in the south of the Iraqi capital when it blew up, the official said. No further details were immediately available. Violence in Baghdad has fallen sharply over the past few months, but despite the improved security insurgents are able to strike with some regularity.
According to US statistics, there are now an average of four attacks a day in the Iraqi capital, 89 per cent less than in 2006 and 83 per cent lower than last year. Overall violence in the country is at four year lows. Senior US commander Major General Michael Oates warned earlier this month that an uptick in violence could be expected as Iraq prepares for provincial elections. The ballot is tentatively scheduled for the end of January in 14 of 18 provinces after parliament passed a controversial election law that will exclude the oil rich region of Kirkuk and three Kurdish provinces.