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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Friday, December 17, 2004

December 17 Events in Iraq

The U.S. Embassy confirmed the name of an American kidnapped six weeks ago in a deadly attack in the Iraqi capital, and his family pleaded Friday for his release. Roy Hallums, a worker for a Saudi company that does catering for the Iraqi army, was seized Nov. 1 along with two other foreigners after a gunbattle in the upscale Mansour neighborhood. An Iraqi guard and one attacker were killed.

Geneva. UN bugged. A sophisticated listening device of Russian fabrication was discovered behind some plants in the "Salon de France" used by high-ranking dignitaries at UN headquarters in Geneva.

Several Turkish embassy guards were ambushed and killed on their way back to Turkey.

Kirkuk. Three people were killed an a child wounded by a mortar round was fired at a camp sheltering Kurdish displaced persons 250 km north of Baghdad.

Karma. Two hundred Fallujah refugees demonstrated in Karma, 20 km north of Fallujah, demanding that they be allowed to return to their homes.

Baghdad. Human Rights Watch demands change in the Iraqi Special Tribunal. Human Rights watch says tribunal rules are seriously flawed and must be amended to guarantee a fair and equitable trial, says spokesman Richard Dicker. The tribunal rules currently permit judges inexperienced in war crimes and human rights violations to sit on the tribunal.

Conservative Iranian religious dignitary calls on Iraqis to vote. Ultraconservative Ayatollah Ahmed Janati called upon Iraqis to vote in the upcoming elections. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi called statements by Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan blaming Teheran for the insurrection unfounded and careless "propaganda."

Baghdad. Communist Party holds rally. 2,000 members of Iraq's Communist Party held an election rally in a sports arena in the capital.

19:29 Baiji, Zarqawi claims credit for pipeline sabotage. The Al Qaeda Organization of Rafidain (Mesopotamia) headed al Zarqawi claims responsibility for the sabotage of an oil pipeline north of Baghdad. The militants seem to have obeyed a directive from Supreme Commander Osama bin Laden to attack the oil infrastructures in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. "An explosive charge detonated near Fatha, 5 km northeast of Baiji," said oil company spokesman Mohammad Mannun.

17:39 Basrah. Airport to reopen in July. The Basrah International Airport will reopen in July 2005. A US company spent 4.9 million euros making repairs.

17:02 Baiji. Oil pipeline sabotaged. A pipeline transporting oil to the Baiji refinery has been sabotaged.

16:22 Mossul. Westerners ambushed, one is decapitated attempting to flee. Witnesses said one of three Westerners was beheaded after attempting to flee the scene of an ambush in the Yarmuk quarter of Mossul. The victims are between 20 and 30 years of age. Identification is difficult because the bodies have been charred beyond recognition. A taxi arriving from Baghdad was surrounded by armed and masked men who arrived by car. The occupants were shot and the vehicle was set afire. The rebels prevented anyone from approaching the scene.

16:00 Baghdad. Oil pipeline south of the city is sabotaged by armed men.

14:11 Mossul. Bodies of eight Iraqi civilians found. Six bodies were found today in Mossul. Another two corpses were found in Hamdaniyah, 30 km from Mossul. All had been killed by gunshot.

13:35 Mossul. Three westerners and an Iraqi killed. All were travelling in a white sedan when it was surrounded by gunmen.

8:20 Philadelphia. Soldier has himself shot to avoid return to Iraq. 23 year-old Marquise Roberts of the 3rd Infantry Division, home for two weeks of leave, had his cousin, Roland Fuller, shoot him in the leg to avoid returning to Iraq. The two were arrested.

08:22 Al Anbar. US marine killed.

04:18 Al Anbar. US marine killed. Marine is the eleventh victim killed by rebels in 24 hours.


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