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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Monday, August 30, 2004

30 August 2004 Events in Iraq

23.15 Baghdad. FRENCH JOURNALISTS, "A QUESTION OF MINUTES". The two reporters read an identical text in a video requesting revocation by Chirac of the head scarf rule for French schools. “If you do not abrogate the rule it could cost you lives; it is a question of time, perhaps minutes, otherwise you might find two corpses” said the pair in the video.

22.59 Doha. AL JAZEERA, KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS REQUEST EXTENSION OF DEADLINE. An Al Jazeera newsreader read a communiqué in which the two journalists grant a 24-hour extension of the ultimatum.

22.21 Doha. DEADLINE EXTENDED. Al Jazeera says kidnappers grant a 24-hour extension of the ultimatum.

22.04 Baghdad. A PLEA TO FRANCE FROM TWO FRENCH REPORTERS. In a video received by al-Jazeera, the journalists are seen requesting the revocation of the anti-headscarf law in France.

21.54 Baghdad. NASSIRIYA, ITALIANS CROSS ‘CHARLIE’ BRIDGE WITH AID. Italian troops entered north Nassiriya crossing bridge ‘Charlie’ over the Euphrates with aid.

21.31 Amman. FRENCH HOSTAGES, BARNIER TRAVELS TO JORDAN. French FM Michel Barnier travels to Jordan as hostage deadline nears.

23.15 Baghdad. FRENCH JOURNALISTS, "A QUESTION OF MINUTES". The two reporters read an identical text in a video requesting revocation by Chirac of the head scarf rule for French schools. If you do not abrogate this law it could cost you lives; it is a question of time, perhaps minutes, otherwise you might find two corpses, said the pair in the video.

20.53 Baghdad. SUNNI SAY EXECUTION OF REPORTERS WOULD ONLY HELP THE OCCUPATION. A member of the Council of Sunni Ulema says the execution of the French hostages would serve only the “enemy occupiers.”

20.42 Paris. FRENCH GOVERNMENT SAYS STATEMENTS BY ALLAWI ARE UNACCEPTABLE. Premier Iyad Allawi criticized the French stance on Middle Eastern affairs after the kidnapping of two French journalists. A spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry says, These statements seem to cast doubt on the determination of Frace to combat terrorism.

20.30 Baghdad. DEADLINE PASSES. AT 19.00 local time the deadline of the ultimatum issued by the kidnappers of Chesnot and Malbrunot expired.

20.14 Paris. FRENCH HOSTAGES, ARAFAT LAUNCHES NEW APPEAL. Yasser Arafat launched yet another appeal for the release of the French hostages: In the name of the Palestinian Authority and of the PLO, I ask the people of our brother state, Iraq, every Iraqi organization and in particular our brothers who hold the French journalists hostage to do everything in their power to grant their release without delay.

20.09 London. UK GOVERNMENT WANTS RESTRICTIONS ON PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS IN IRAQ. London wants proliferating security firms in Iraq to be regulated.

19.28 Amman. FRENCH HOSTAGES. Jordanian FM Marwan Moasher to meet with his French colleague Michel Barnier tomorrow.

19.05 Beirut. 300 IRAQIS HOLD CONGRESS FOR NATIONAL UNITY. More than 300 Iraqis of various religions and ethnicities held a congress yesterday in Beirut to show support for national unity and opposition to the “American cccupation” of Iraq. The Kurds, however, did not send a delegate.

18.52 Mossul. BOMBING IN MOSSUL, ONE DEAD, TWO WOUNDED. A US soldier was killed and two others wounded in the explosion of a roadside bomb.

18.44 Nassiriya. CARABINIERI CONSTRUCTION TWO SCHOOLS. Italian troops will build and complete two new schools in Nassiriya within the next few months.

18.38 Baghdad. ISLAMIC JIHAD AND ARAFAT PLEAD FOR RELEASE OF FRNCH HOSTAGES. Islamic Jihad and Arafat join others in pleading for the release of the kidnapped French journalists.

17.52 Moscow. PUTIN REVOKES ARMS EMBARGO ON IRAQ. Russian President Vladimir Putin revoked his country’s embargo on arms exports to iraq, saying it would be applied to the neither to the Coalition nor to the caretaker government.

17.45 Madrid. HOSTAGES, OFFER OF SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE FROM SPAIN. Spanish Foreign Mininster Miguel Angel Moratinos says Spain lends its moral support to the French government for the liberation of the French hostage and offers any possible assistance in working towards their release.

17.36 Najaf. IRANIAN REPORTER ARRESTED IN NAJAF. A reporter for the "Fars" news agency was arrested by Iraqi police last Thursday in Najaf. Hasan Qaedi, covering events in Najaf, remains in custody.

17.27 Rome. ITALY STANDS BEHIND FRANCE. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says Italy stands behind France but reiterates intention of keeping Italian forces in Iraq.

16.45 Samarra. US AIRSTRIKE: FOUR DEAD AND FIVE WOUNDED. Four Iraqis, including two children and one woman, were killed and another five wounded in a US airstrike on Samarra. The attack targeted a factory in the al-Mutasim district, approximately 15 km west Samarra, destroying a building and damaging passing cars. [The list of bombed, liberated cities grows: Fallujah, Najaf, Al Kut, Kufa, Karbala, Baquba, Sadr City, and Samarra--Nur]

16.00 Doha. AL JAZEERA SAYS PHOTOS OF BALDONI WERE TAKEN BEFORE EXPIRY OF ULTIMATUM. The photos showing the body of executed Enzo Baldoni were taken before the expiry of the ultimatum. The photo had been taken in full sunlight long before the sundown deadline.

15.40 Baghdad. ROCKET ATTACK ON PIPELINE SOUTH OF BAGHDAD. Anti-tank rockets were fired at a pipeline south of Baghdad, setting it ablaze.

14.50 Baghdad. SADR ORDERS TOTAL CEASEFIRE. Radical leader Moqtada al Sadr has ordered a total ceasefire in Iraq and has announced of an important political program will be shortly

14.00 Rome. BALDONI, SISMI TO TESTIFY BEFORE PARLIAMENT. The head of Italy's intelligence service SISMI, Nicolò Pollari, will testify before Italian parliament on 7 September on the abduction and execution of Enzo Baldoni. [SISMI has long been notorious for far right, even neo-fascist, leanings--Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog on Saturday--Nur]

13.57 Strasbourg. EUROPEAN UNION PLEADS FOR RELEASE OF HOSTAGES. Javier Solana supports France and pleas for release of hostages.

13.21 Baghdad. IRAQI LEAGUE APPEALS TO KIDNAPPERS TO SPARE JOURNALISTS. The League for the Defense of Human Rights of the Iraqi People is in contact with one of the kidnappers of Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, and claims to have an `agreement in principle' for their release.

13.13 Cairo. ARAB LEAGUE PLEADS FOR RELEASE OF HOSTAGES. League Secretary General Amr Mussa pleas for release of hostages after meeting with the French Foreign Minister in Cairo.

13.06 Basrah. OIL EXPORTS CUT OFF IN SOUTHERN IRAQ. The export of petroleum from southern Iraq has come to a standstill after continuing acts of sabotage. The most recent sabotage has taken place in Radgha, 30 km south of Basrah.

12.38 Paris. ARAB AMBASSADORS IN PARIS DECLARE UNITY. Arab Ambassadors in the French capital declare support for and unity with the French government, which is working to gain the release of two kidnapped journalists in Iraq.


12.05 Cairo. FRENCH DIPLOMAT ARRIVES IN CAIRO. Hubert Colin de Verdihre, French Ambassador to Algeria, has arrived in Baghdad to guide efforts in the release of French hostages.

12.02 Paris. GOVERNMENT AND OPPOSITION MEET IN PARIS. French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin meets with opposition leaders to discuss hostage crisis.

11.52 Rome. ROME TO BRING CHARGES OF ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE AGAINST REBELS IN NASSIRIYA. Rome is preparing a dossier on a grenade attack on an Italian Corps of Engineers patrol which occurred last night.

11.46 Rome. NO RANSOM FOR RETURN OF CORPSE OF BALDONI. Italy will not pay a ransom for body.

11.28 Baghdad. CLASHES IN SADR CITY, DEATH TOLL RISES TO SEVENTEEN. 17 are dead and 96 wounded in clashes between US troops Moqtada al-Sadr's militia last night in Sadr City.


10.45 Cairo. PLEA FROM FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER. "Release the French journalists in the name of humanity. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.", says French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier in Cairo.

10.33 Baghdad. DEATH THREATS AGAINST PREMIER ALLAWI. This is the last warning we will give you, oh Allawi. Resign and leave Iraq immediately, otherwise our weapons will be targeted on you and your gang. This is the most recent message from Al-Hussein Brigades at an Islamic web site.

10.10 Baghdad. WEB SITE LINKED TO AL QAEDA: "RELEASE THE FRENCH HOSTAGES " Islamic Minbar publishes message ` Yusef', demanding release of French hostages.

9.52 Najaf. SACRED PRECIOUS OBJECTS MISSING FROM SHRINE OF ALI. The Iraqi newspaper Al Sabah al Yadid says several sacred objects missing from shrine .

9.50 Doha. AL JAZEERA EXPERT: "VIDEO SHOWING BALDONI AUTHENTIC". An Al Jazeera expert in montage says video authentic.


8.44 Nassiriya. WOUNDED CARABINIERI TO RETURN TO NASSIRIYA. Vincenzo Cuccia, wounded in a 17 August RPG attack, will return to duty in Iraq.

8.39 Paris. FRENCH GOVERNMENT SAYS HIGH SCHOOL VEIL BAN TO ENTER INTO FORCE ON THURSDAY. Despite the hostage crisis, secular law to enter into force as planned.


8.23 Nassiriya. A bomb exploded just after midnight (local time) when an Italian military convoy passed nearby. No injuries reported.


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