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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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).

Thursday, August 26, 2004

26 August 2004 Events in Iraq.

22:00 Doha. ENZO BALDONI EXECUTED BY KIDNAPPERS. A video was delivered to the Italian Ambassador in Doha in which Baldoni was executed by pistol shot.

21.12 Najaf. SISTANI-SADR PACT: MILITIA WILL LEAVE SHRINE. The draft peace plan between grand ayatollah Sistani and Sadr provides for the departure of the Sadr militias from the shrine as well as the pullout of US troops from Najaf.

20.58 Najaf. SISTANI, GOVERNMENT GIVES BLESSING TO SHI’ITE MARCH ON NAJAF. Grand Ayatollah Alì Sistani had asked the caretaker government to permit the faithful to march to the Shrine of Ali.

20.54 Najaf. AL SADR ACCEPTS ALL POINTS OF THE SISTANI PEACE PLAN. Moqtada Sadr has accepted all conditions outlined by Ayatollah Ali Sistani for resolving the crisis in Najaf.


20.10 Dubai. AL ARABIYA REPORTS SISTANI AND SADR REACH AGREEMENT ON TRUCE FOR NAJAF. The two have reportedly had "very positive talks”.

18.48 Doha. AL JAZEERA BROADCASTS VIDEO OF KIDNAPPED SON-IN-LAW OF DEFENSE MINISTER Qatari TV Al Jazeera has broadcast a video received from "Divine Fury", a group holding the son-in-law of Defense Minister Hazin al Shaalan. The same group kidnapped another relative, General Shalan Hassan Zeidan al-Lami.


18.26 Rome. BALDONI, WIFE CONFIDENT THAT HUSBAND WILL BE RELEASED. "We are confident in the measures taken by the Red Cross which will give us back Enzo."

18.24 Najaf.THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS ENTER SHRINE. Thousands of civilians have entered the Shrine of Ali, ending the siege, says reporter for El Mundo.

18.22 Baghdad. SEVEN EMPLOYEES OF KUWAITI FIRM SHOWN IN VIDEO. The kidnappers of seven employees of a Kuwaiti firm were shown in a video released by their kidnappers, the Black Flag Division of the Islamic Secret Army. They hold 3 Kenyans, 3 Indians and an Egyptianall of Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company(Klg).

18.10 Erbil. KURDISH LEADER ESCAPES ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT. Sadi Ahmad Pire, of the PUK escapes assassination as his car is hit by a roadside bomb. His bodyguard and two bystanders were wounded.

17.58 Ankara. TWO TURKISH FIRMS LEAVE IRAQ. Two Turkish construction companies, Sar-Ra and Usluer, will cease operations in Iraq to gain the release of employees Abdullah Ozdemir and Ali Daskin.

17.14 Rome. FRATTINI SAYS ITALY TO REMAIN IN IRAQ "Italy will remain in Iraq until the Allawi government asks Italian troops to pull out.”, says Italian FM Franco Frattini.

17.00 Rome. FRATTINI, ALL CHANNELS OPEN FOR NEGOTIATION. Italian FM Franco Frattini says all channels are open for negotiation the immediate and unconditional release of kidnapped journalist Enzo Baldoni.

16.35 Rome. HOPES UP FOR RELEASE OF ENZO BALDONI. Despite expiration of ultimatum, family of kidnapped journalist has hopes up for release.

16.05 Rome. BALDONI: AL JAZEERA WILL BROADCAST A VIDEO ON WORK OF JOURNALIST WAS DOING. Al Jazeera will produce a mini-documentary on the activities of Enzo Baldoni as described by his friends and colleagues in an effort to spare the kidnapped Italian journalist

16.00 Baghdad. BALDONI ULTIMATUM EXPIRES. The ultimatum set by the Islamic Army is about to expire. Red Cross calls on Iraqi people to help.


15.30 Baghdad. US SOLDIER KILLED. A US soldier dies in mortar attack.

15.20 Najaf. TEN SISTANI SUPPORTERS KILLED IN SHOOTOUT. Ten supporters of Ayatollah al-Sistani were killed when gunmen fired at police attempting to control the crowds. The police returned fire and killed 10 bystanders.

15.00 Ankara. TWO TURKISH FIRMS QUIT IRAQ AFTER KIDNAPPINGS. Two Turkish firms have ceased their operations in Iraq after employees are kidnapped.

14.25 Kufa and Najaf. UPDATED DEATH TOLL IS 74. The mortar attack in Kufa and the attack on protesters in Najaf killed 74 and wounded 376.

14.00 Baghdada. MORTAR SHELL IMPACTS "GREEN ZONE". A column of smoke is seen rising from the point of impact.

13.30 Najaf. SISTANI IN TALKS WITH SADR COLLABORATORS. At 4:00 pm local time Ayatollah Alì Al Sistani and collaborators of radical Imam Moqtada Al Sadr began talks in Najaf.

12.58 Najaf. SISTANI ARRIVES IN CITY. The ayatollah's convoy arrived in the al-Saad quarter of Najaf near Revolution of 1920 Square, theater of heavy fighting over the last three weeks. In the convoy were 10 Iraqi and British military vehicles. Sistani has left Basrah shortly before dawn. In addition to the military escort, busses and cars packed with Sistani supporters also pulled up behind the ayatollah. Complete silence descended on Najaf as the Ayatollah emerged from his car. An immediate ceasefire was called.

12.44 Baghdad. ALLAWI PROMISES AMNESTY. Prime Minister Iyad Allawi proclaimed a 24 hour truce in Najaf and promised amnesty to the Mahdi Army if they leave Najaf peacefully.

12.09 Najaf. POLICE SHOOT INTO AIR IN REPORTERS' HOTEL. During the night police entered a hotel in Najaf where foreign journalists were staying firing warning shots. The journalists were rounded up and loaded into police vans. They were released later.

11.54 Tikrit. TWO US TROOPS KILLED. RPG attack sets fire to armored vehicle, killing the occupants.

11.27 Rome. UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE MANTICA: NO NEWS FROM ENZO BALDONI. Italian Undersecretary of State Alfredo Mantica rejects ultimatum and says he has had no news.


11.14 Rome. BALDONI'S DAD: `ENZO, YOU'LL MAKE IT THROUGH'. Antonio Baldoni hopes for a positive outcome of son's ordeal.

10.57 Kufa. TWENTY KILLED IN CROWD. A procession carrying posters of Ayatollah Ali Sistani came under gunfire, killing 20 people.

10.27 Najaf. CEASEFIRE TO ENTER INTO FORCE AS SISTANI ARRIVES IN NAJAF. The Governor of Najaf has declared a 24 ceasefire to begin upon arrival of Sistani

10.12 Najaf. IRAQI NATIONAL GUARD FIRES ON CROWD, DOZENS ARE KILLED. The Iraqi National Guard fire on a crowd demonstrating in favor of Moqtada al-Sadr.

9.04 Basrah. EIGHT PIPELINES SABOTAGED IN SOUTHERN IRAQ. Eight pipelines in the South Rumailah oilfields were sabotaged including the 'Zubeir 1' pumping station.

8.29 Kufa. AT LEAST 25 DEAD, 60 WOUNDED. Mortar attack on mosque kills 25 and wounds 60.

7.46 Kufa. EXPLOSION IN MOSQUE IN KUFA, CASUALTIES. A violent blast struck a mosque in Kufa.

6.57 Najaf. US AIRSTRIKE ON REBELS. US warplanes attacked rebel positions in Najaf. The bombing shook all of Najaf while from the city center, artillery fire was heard. Grey smoke was seen rising from the Shirin of Alì.

6.55 Najaf. AYATOLLAH SISTANI TO ARRIVE IN NAJAF. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the highest Shi'a religious authority in Iraq, is expected in Najaf later today.


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