Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

25 August 2004 Events in Iraq

22.21 Doha. AL JAZEERA BROADCASTS ANOTHER PLEA FOR RELEASE OF BALDONI. Qatari al-Jazeera TV has broadcast an appeal from the familty of Enzo Baldoni for his release.

22.19 Basrah. TALKS BETWEEEN GOVERNMENT AND SISTANI ON NAJAF SITUATION. Two Iraqi ministers flew to Basrah today to meet Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

21.54 Najaf. ARREST AND RELEASE OF AL-ARABIYA REPORTERS. Five Al-Arabiya reporters were arrested and later released by Iraqi police tonight in Najaf.

21.26 Najaf. US AIRSTRIKE. A US AC-130 has bombarded Najaf this evening.

20.54 Washington. TORTURE, 27 MILITARY INTELLIGENCE PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN ABU GHRAIB ABUSE. Twenty seven military intelligence ‘specialists’ encouraged or participated in torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib says report submitted before Congress today.

19.39 – RELATIVES OF MINISTRY OFFICIAL KIDNAPPED FOR SWAP WITH IMPRISONED SADR MILITIAMEN. The Brigades of Divine Wrath kidnapped the son-in-law of Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan and one of his parents. The kidnappers demand the release of Moqtada al-Sadr's right-hand man, arrested today in Najaf.

19.29 Kufa. DEATH TOLL. Three Iraqis were killed during a street demonstration in Kufa when US troops fire on protesting Shi’a.

19.24 Doha. AL JAZEERA REPORTS RELATIVE OF DEFENSE MINISTRY OFFICIAL KIDNAPPED. Iraqi militants have kidnapped the relative of the Defense Minister.

18.56 Rome. BALDONI; SEARCH ON RIGHT PATH. Italian intelligence personnel work towards release of journalist Baldoni.

18.21 Najaf. POLICE FIRE ON SHI’ITE STREET DEMONSTRATON IN NAJAF, 2 DEAD. The Iraqi police opened fire on a crowd of marchers near Najaf responding Grand Ayatolla Ali al-Sistani appeal to march to liberate the holy city: There are 2 dead and 5 wounded.

17.59 Najaf. MILITANTS OUSTED FROM CENTER OF NAJAF. Mahdi Army militants have lost control of a large portion of Najaf.

17.27 Doha. AL-JAZEERA REPORTS DEATHS DURING SHI’ITE STREET DEMONSTRATION IN KUFA. US troops fired on a crowd of Shi’ite demonstrators in Kufa, killing or wounded numerous victims.

17.25 Baghdad. TWO TURKS TAKEN HOSTAGE IN IRAQ. Abdullah Ozdemir and Aki Daskin will be executed if their employer does not cease operatons in Iraqi within 72 hours.

17.08 Washington. KERRY DEMANDS RESIGNATION OF RUMSFELD. John Kerry called for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld for negligence and dereliction of duty because of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib.

16.33 Baghdad. SCIRI GIVES FULL SUPPORT TO SISTANI REQUEST. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq led by Abdelaziz Hakim throws support behind Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and has invited all Iraqis to do the same.

15.53 Paris. RADIO FRANCE, FRENCH JOURNALISTS ALIVE. Jean-Paul Cluzel, Director of Radio France, says kidnapped French journalists are alive and thanks the “efficient actions of French diplomacy.”

15.45 Fallujah. NEW US AIRSTRIKE, FOUR DEAD. Four are dead and seven wounded after US airstrike on Fallujah.

15.19 Doha. AL JAZEERA, SADR FOLLOWERS END COMBAT. Moqtada Sadr's followers "have terminated military operations in southern Iraq," reports Qatari TV broadcaster Al Jazeera'.

15.07 Cairo. ISLAMIC SITE WRITES THAT A US SPY HAS BEEN EXECUTED. An Islamic web site writes that an American secret agent has been executed by Ansar al-Sunna.

14.27 Baghdad. GRENADES THOWN AT POLISH EMBASSY IN IRAQ. Grenades were tossed at the Polish Embassy in Baghdad.

14.22 Basrah. SISTANI CALLS UPON FAITHFUL TO FOLLOW HIM TO NAJAF. "If the faithful wish to following Ayatollah Sistani on his journey to Najaf, they are welcome", says Sistani spokesman Jaffar Bastan. A different spokesman for the ayatollah had previously called on the Shi'a faithful to march on the holy city to "save it."

13.59 Najaf. SADR PRINCIPAL COLLABORATOR ARRESTED. Sheik Ali Sumeisim, Sadr's right-hand man, has been arrested in Najaf near Revolution of 1920 Square.[Update: this arrest was a major gaffe. The cleric was a negotiator for Sadr and somewhat of a neutral--Nur]

13.41 Rome. "DADDY! A BIG KISS FOR YOU": Gabriella and Guido Baldoni, children of kidnapped Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, broadcast a plea for his release and a personal message on Italian national TV and on araba Al-Jazeera.

13.31 Rome. BALDONI KIDS: OUR DAD IS A PACIFIST. Gabriella Baldoni, 24 and her brother Giudo, 21 emphasize dad Enzo Baldoni's pacifist beliefs.

12.25 Rome. BALDONI, COURT IN ROME RECEIVES VIDEO. Al Jazeera has turned over a video of the kidnapped journalist to an Italian court of law.

11.30 Hilla. NATURAL GAS PIPELINE SABOTAGED. A natural gas pipeline in Al Madhatiyah near Hilla was sabotaged. Polish troops say 10 armed men detonated several explosives attached to the pipeline. Meanwhile, guerrillas fired mortars at a police station in the nearby town of Mahawil.

11.20 Basrah. SISTANI IN NAJAF TOMORROW. Ayatollah Sistani has arrived in Basrah. Tomorrow he will be in Najaf.

11.00 Najaf. SADR INVITES FOLLOWERS TO PARTICIPATE IN COUNTERMARCH ON NAJAF. Al Sadr has urged his followers to march on Najaf to break the US siege. Mahmoud al-Soundani, a spokesman for Sadr, says Sadr's march was planned before rival Al Sistani's call.

10.40 Dubai. SISTANI RETURNS, CALLS FOR MARCH. Grand Ayatollah Alì Al Sistani, the most senior Shi'a religious authority in Iraqi, back in the country and has called for a march on Najaf per al-Arabiya TV.

10.30 Najaf. PLEA FOR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR WOUNDED INSIDE SHRINE. Doctors working in an infirmary inside the Shrine make appeal for emergency assistance for 30 gravely wounded men in need of surgery and blood transfusions.

10.18 Najaf. THREE US MISSILES IMPACT NEAR SHRINE. Three US missiles fall within a few feet of the Shrine of Ali in Najaf.

10.15 Najaf. DOORS CLOSED. The four doors to the Shrine in Najaf have been closed by the militants.

8.58 Doha. IL DIARIO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF GOES ON AL JAZEERA. Enrico Deaglio, Editor-in-Chief of the Italian newspaper Il Diario, goes on Al Jazeera TV to plead for the life of journalist Enzo Baldoni.

8.45 Najaf. MISSILE IMPACTS NEAR SHRINE. Agence France Presse says final assault is underway.

8.22 Najaf. SNIPERS. US snipers have taken aim at all entrances to the Shrine of Ali.

8.10 Najaf. "MARCH ON NAJAF". Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani will arrive in Iraq shortly and has called on all Iraqi Shi'a "March on Najaf.".

7.45 Najaf. HOSPITAL. Three are dead after a US attack.

7.08 Najaf. US COMMAND: ATTACK NOT LAUNCHED. The final assault on the shrine has not yet been ordered.

6.55 Najaf. US TANKS 20 METERS FROM SHRINE. Militants set fire to barricades at shrine entrances and tank cannon fires on rebel positions.


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