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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Sunday, December 19, 2004

December 19 Events in Iraq

Amman. Spokesman Abdel Rahim al-Jamal of the Jordanian truck drivers union has announced that US forces have released five Jordanian truck drivers whom they had arrested in early December. They have been cleared of all suspicion. The truck drivers had been arrested on December 3 after delivering automobiles to Iraq. Jordanian government spokesman Asma Khodr said his government negotiated for their release.

Baghdad. Curfew imposed on city and an addition 35 checkpoints were set up to prevent cars with hidden explosives to enter town.

Karbala. Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Saïd Al-Hakim asks caretaker government to "do everything to end [the bombings] and to arrest the organizers behind such acts".

00:21 Saddam Hussein urges Iraqis to unite. Khalil Doulami, laywer for Saddam Hussein, says the ex-President urges Iraqis of all faiths and ethnicities to unite against the United States; concerning the elections, he advises Iraqis to be prudent.

19:45 Al Qaeda is preparing attack on Suez Canal. Dubai TV network al Arabiya reports that the Arabic daily al Watan has published a story saying that al Qaeda is planning an attack on the Suez Canal and the Iraqi petroleum port of Umm Qasr.

18:22 Rockets confiscated. Prime Minister Iyad Allawi says Iraqi forces have found a number of rockets meant to be fired at elections commission offices. He did not indicate the manufacture of the rockets nor location or time of the find

17:46 Karbala, death toll rises to 14. Fourteen are dead and fifty-seven wounded in the Karbala carbombing.

17:45 Hawija. Four Kurds killed. Four young Kurds were killed by unknown assailants as they walked around through an outdoor market in Sunni town of Hawija, 200 north of Baghdad. Two other Kurds were killed there on Friday.

16:44 Najaf, 48 victims of bombing. Fourty-eight people were killed and 90 wounded in a carbombing in Najaf.

16:32 Kuwait: Two US soldiers die in road accident. Two US servicemen are dead and two others wounded in a road accident just outside Kuwait City this morning.

15:24 Baghdad. Powerful blast heard. A violent explosion occurred in downtown Baghdad. No further information is available.

13:57 Nafaf carbombing, 30 dead. Following a carbombing in Karbala which killed 12 and wounded 34, another carbomb was detonated in Najaf near the tomb of Ali,

13:08 Baghdad. Iraq holds 1500 Iranian detainees. Iraq's prisons hold more that 1500 Iranians arrested as they attempted to make a pilgrimage to sacred Shi'ite religious sites in Iraq, says Iranian Foreign Ministery Masud Khaleghi. The Iranian government has succeeded in releasing only 142.

12:45 Karbala: 10 dead and 40 wounded. The toll of casualties continues to rise in Karbala after a carbomb detonated.

12:22 Baghdad. Iraqi Christians cancel Christmas celebrations. Yonadam Kanna, a Christian member of the interim caretaker government, says Iraqi Christians have cancelled Christmas celebrations out of respect for the dozen vicims of attacks on churches and monasteries in Iraq.

12:12 Baghdad. Three election office employees assassinated. Elections Commission spokesman Farid Ayar says three staffers at the Karkh elections office in Baghdad's Haifa Street were killed by unknown assailants this morning.

12:11 Karbala. Carbombing wounds 22. At least 22 persons have been wounded in the carbombing of a bus station, 500 meters from the Tomb of Imam Abbas. Witnesses said the car bomber drove into the bus station after having made several unsuccessful attempts to enter a police recruitment compound nearby.

12:11 Doha. Video shows 10 employees of the Sandi Group threatened with death. Both Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya broadcast a video showing 10 Iraqis, all employees of the US firm Sandi Group, held hostage by at least three previously unknown guerrilla groups: The Army of the Muhajedeen, The Black Flags Brigades, and the Mutassim Bellah Brigades. The date and time of the kidnapping is not known. Al Jazeera also reported that the hostages will be executed if the Sandi Group does not halt its business operations in Iraq. The ultimatum deadline is unknown. The hostages are said to be residents of Baghdad.

11:03 Basrah. Iraqi policeman killed. Police in Basrah say an Iraqi officer was killed in a shoot-out between rebels and Coalition troops in Basrah on Friday.

10:01 Baghdad. Mortar rounds hit mosque, four wounded. Four Iraqi security guards were wounded when two mortar rounds hit a main Sunni mosque in Baghdad.

08:05 Baghdad. Two Egyptian managers of the Orascom Mobile Phone Company were released by US forces, who arrested them last week and held them for several days under suspicion of aiding the guerrillas. Egyptian diplomatic mission spokesman Farouk Mabrouk says the arrests were the result of "a big misunderstanding."

07:04 Iraq arrests 45 clandestine pilgrims. Forty-five pilgrims entering Iraq from Iran were arrested in Mandali, 97 km east of Baghdad. The group said they were Muslim pilgrims from Iran, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.


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