U.S. and Iraqi officials are seeing a shift in violence in Iraq from mass car bombings to assassinations using magnetic bombs, weapons with silencers and bicycle bombs. As provincial elections approach, some officials worry that assassinations will increase as political parties try to eradicate their competitors.
"Some of the organizations that are seeking political power are resorting to intimidation and violence," said Maj. Gen. Michael L. Oates, the commander of the Army's 10th Mountain Division, whose area of command includes most of southern Iraq. "So you'll see individual bombs used against a prominent member of a party. I personally think we will see an uptick of that type of violence as we go into the election cycle because . . . the way some people deal with political tension here is to eliminate the other parties by using violence."