21 August 2004 Events in Iraq
23.30 Baghdad. TWO FRENCH JOURNALISTS KIDNAPPED.George Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and Christian Chesnot of French radio have not been heard of since Thursday, the French foreign ministry said.[Ten to one it's the Iraqi police who've been kidnapping the French and Italian journalists.--PT]
23.20 Najaf. HUGE CONFLAGRATION. A huge fire has broken out in the southern part of the city after a series of explosions and gunfire from US AC-130 gunships.
20.30 Ramadi. US TROOPS ARREST RAMADI POLICE CHIEF. PROTESTS FOLLOW. Ramadi police officers and officials have protested the arrest of their police chief. General Jaadan Mohammed Khubaisi was taken into custody with no explanation. Khubaisi's son, Ahmed, says the Ramadi police have turned in their uniforms and threaten to quit. A few hours earlier Colonel Saad Samir al-Dulaimi, head of the anticrime unit in Ramadi, was assassinated as he left his home.
19.20 Baghdad. US JOURNALIST TO BE RELEASED. The Bagdad office of Moqtada Al Sadr say it has contacted the kidnappers of Micah Garen and that they will release Garen soon.
18.30 Baghdad. SHI'ITE SOURCES CONFIRM MURDER OF BALDONI'S DRIVER. Shi'ite sources have confirmed the murder of Ghareeb, Enzo Baldoni's driver. Ghareeb body was found in the morgue at the Al Iskandaria Hospital in Latifiya, 50km from Baghdad.
18.18 Rome. RAFFAELE BALDONI WORRIED BUT HOPEFUL. Raffaele Baldoni, brother of missing Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, has not given up hope that his brother will be found.
18.10 Najaf. RENEWED COMBAT. Marines and Moqtada Al Sadr's militia have resumed combat in Najaf. Mortar, RPG and machine gun fire is heard. A US drone aircraft was shot down.
17.55 Baghdad. DRIVER FOR JOURNALIST BALDONI FOUND DEAD. Red Cross sources report that the body of the driver for Enzo Baldoni has been located in a Baghdad morgue. Fellow journalist Franco Gialdinelli says Baldoni was likely ambushed by a criminal gang, not Iraqi guerrillas.
17.25 Hilla THREE POLISH SOLDIERS KILLED. Three, not one as reported previously, Polish soldiers were killed this morning in Hilla in an ambush on their convoy.
17.09 Basrah. ATTEMPTED PIPELINE SABOTAGE. An explosion hit a pumping station in southern Iraq, 20 km from Basrah.
16.58 Najaf. SADR, "SISTANI HINDERS HANDOVER OF KEYS TO SHRINE". A spokesman for Moqtada Sadr say the keys to the Shrine of Ali in Najaf have not as yet been handed over to the office of Ayatollah Ali Sistani because Sistani has imposed two conditions: 1) No one to remain outside or inside the shrine, which will be locked shut and 2) keys to be handed over in a sealed envelope.
16.04 Ramallah. ISLAMIC JIHAD SUPPORTS MUQTADA SADR. Sheik Nafez Azzam, a leader of the Sunni Arab Palestinian Islamic Jihad said today in Gaza that his organization backs Moqtada al Sadr. Mosques and holy shrines in Palestine and Iraq are purposely selected by the Zionists and the Americans to cause mayhem.
14.35 Rome. "BALDONI IS KIDNAPPED". Radio-Television Italia correspondent Pino Scaccia confirms in his reporter's blog (www.bloghdad.splinder.com) that freelance reporter Enzo Baldoni has been kidnapped.
14.24 Ramadi. GUERRILLA STRIKE, 4 DEAD,11 WOUNDED. Guerrilla action in the so-called "Sunni Triangle." west of Baghdad killed four and wounded 11.
13.23 Mosul. BOMB KILLS 1, WOUNDS 5. An Iraqi national guardsman was killed and five others wounded, including 3 civilians, by a bomb in Mosul.
12.00 Hilla. POLE KILLED. Polish convoy attacked, six wounded and one killed by roadside bomb in Hilla, in central Iraq.
11.55 Baghdad. "BALDONI, NO CONTACT" No news from Enzo Baldoni, the Italian journalist who disappeared yesterday in Iraq.
10.22 Nassiriya. USA JOURNALIST TO BE RELEASED TODAY. It is expected that Micah Garen will be released today.
10.15 Baghdad. US SOLDIER KILLED, 2 OTHERS WOUNDED. Their Bradley vehicle took a direct hit from an RPG in south Baghdad.
10.04 Najaf. SADR MILITIA STILL HAS KEYS TO SHRINE OF ALI. The situation in Najaf is confused and contradictory.
10.02 Najaf. SADR WILL REMAIN IN SHRINE AFTER HANDOVER OF KEYS. The 'al-Mahdi' Army will remain the in shrine even after handover of keys to Ayatollah Sistani.
9.28 Najaf. SADR, WE WILL HAND OVER THE SHRINE ONLY TO AYATOLLAH SISTANI. Moqtada al-Sadr plans to hand over the keys not only to the Shrine of Ali but the entire mosque complex to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, says Sheik Ahmed al-Sheibani, a Sadr spokesman.
8.51 Najaf. NEW TALKS IN PROGRESS OVER SHRINE OF ALI. New negotiations ongoing.
8.44 Kufa. VIOLENT CLASHES BETWEEN US TROOPS AND SHI'ITES. Violent combat in the city of Kufa, 10 km from Najaf, between US forces and Moqtada Sadr. The walls of the Shrine of Maithan al Tamam have been damaged.
8.33 Najaf. CARETAKER GOVERNMENT DELEGATION AWAITED. A cease fire is once again in effect in Najaf while awaiting the arrival of a delegation from the Baghdad government. However at dawn this moring, explosions were heard.
8.20 Najaf. SADR'S MEN STILL CONTROL SHRINE.
8.15 Najaf. FOUR EXPLOSIONS IN CITY. After a night of relative calm, four blasts were heard at dawn.
8.10 Samarra. US PATROL ATTACKED, 2 DEAD AND 3 WOUNDED. At least two US troops were killed and three wounded after a dynamite attack on their convoy near Samarra, 100 km north of Baghdad. 710 US troops haved died in Iraq since March 2003.
8.05 Baghdad. NO TRACE OF ENZO BALDONI . The Italian embassy in Baghdad reports no contact with missing Italian reporter.
7.59 Nassiriya. ITALIANS ATTACKED, NO INJURIES- An Italian armored vehicle, a "Dardo" belonging to Task Force Pegasus, came under RPG fire.
7.51 Najaf. MYSTERY SURROUNDS FATE OF AL SADR. Mystery surrounds the surrender of the Mahdi Army in Najaf. Some say Sadr has left Najaf. Sheik Ahmad al-Sheibani has denied the surrender.