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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

31 August 2004 Events in Iraq

Four US generals to be put out to pasture, French-Russian-German summit, and bad day for Nepalese workers.

23.45 Paris. FRENCH HOSTAGES, DEADLINE PASSES IN SILENCE. The Arab League believes that the deadline was extended by 48, not 24 hours and that it is fixed for tomorrow evening.

22.45 Tripoli. KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST, APPEAL FROM GHEDDAFI. The Libyan leader calls upon the Iraqi people to “protect the French".

20.54 – ARAB LEAGUE: DEADLINE EXTENDED THROUGH TOMORROW. Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, says kidnappers had granted a 48, not a 24, hour extension.

19.45 Paris. CHIRAC RETURNS TO PARIS. French President Jacques Chirac returned this evening to Paris after meeting in Sotchi (Russia) with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin.


19.10 Paris. DEMONSTRATION FOR RELEASE OF HOSTAGES. Approximately 100 people demonstrated in front of City Hall in Paris at the invitation of Reporters Without Frontiers.

19.04 Baghdad. ALLAWI PROMISES TO RECONSTRUCT SADR CITY. Premier Iyad Allawi has promised several million dollars for the rebuilding of Sadr City.

19.00 Katmandu. NEPAL WANTS INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO EXECUTIONS. The government of Nepal wants the international community to punish those responsible for the execution of 12 Nepalese workmen.

18.14 Katmandu. MASSACRE OF NEPALESE, KATMANDU HAS NO CONFIRMATION. Nabin Bahadur Shresta, spokesman for the Foreign Minister, says massacre is not yet confirmed.

18.11 Paris. FRENCH TV WILL NOT BROADCAST VIDEO. Private TV network Tf1 will not rebroadcast the video of the hostages shown on al Jazeera.


17.22 Baghdad. IRAQI JOURNALISTS PLEAD FOR RELEASE OF FRENCH HOSTAGES. Shehab al-Timimi, head of the Association for the Defense of Journalists, makes plea on behalf of Iraqi reporters.

16.36 Baghdad. BAGHDAD ULEMA DENY RUMOR OF HOSTAGE RELEASE. Mohamed Bashar Al Faydy, member of the Baghdad Ulema, denies rumor that French journalists have been released.

16.33 Paris. FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER DENIES IMMENENT RELEASE OF HOSTAGES. Spokesperson Cécile Pozzo di Borgo denies rumor on Al-Arabiya TV.

16.29 Baghdad. ULEMA GO LIVE TO PLEA FOR RELEASE. Al Jazira and Al Arabiya carry live plea for the lives of French Journalists by the Baghdad Ulema.

16.23 Baghdad. FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER VILLEPIN: "NO COMMENT". De Villepin takes no questions from press as talks end with Imam Dalil Boubakeur of the Paris Mosque.

15.59 Rome. ITALIANS TAKE LEGAL ACTION TO OBTAIN BALDONI VIDEO. The Qatar authorities are asked to seize video of Baldoni from Al Jazeera.


15.24 Baghdad. 110 US TROOPS DIE SINCE TURNOVER OF SOVEREIGNTY. Los Angeles Times reports 974 US troops have died in Iraq, 836 after May 1, 2003 when George W. Bush declared "Mission Accomplished."

13.55 Baghdad. NEPALESE HOSTAGES: "THIS IS THE FATE OF TRAITORS". We send this message to the Nepalese government and the like, tentacles of Zionism and Christianity... that which you see is the fate of treasonous agents, spies...we are afraid of nothing; those who remain, go back home rather than see your remains sent back in coffins, providing there are remains of the accursed corpses.... This is the text at an Islamic web site accompanying the images of the corpses of 11 kidnapped Nepalese and one beheading from the Ansar-al Sunna Army.

13.33 Baghdad. NEPALESE HOSTAGES: GROUP CLAIMS CREDIT FOR EXECUTIONS. Ansar Al-Sunna claims credit for beheading of 12 Nepalese hostages. We turn our eyes to the Islamic nation from east to west - there is no doubt that the wrongs inflicted by the enemies of Allah oblige Muslims to use the language of Jihad.

13.05 Baghdad. NEPALESE HOSTAGES, ONE CORPSE IS SHOWN BEHEADED WHILE OTHERS ARE BULLET-RIDDEN. The Ansar al-Sunna Islamic group displays images at an Islamic website.

13.01 Karachi. PAKISTANI ISLAMIC PARTY: "FREE THE FRENCH REPORTERS". Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the leader of Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan's largest Islamic party, issues plea to kidnappers to release French hostages.

12.50 Baghdad. NEPALESE HOSTAGES: PHOTO OF BEHEADING TO APPEAR ON WEBSITE. An Islamic website announces it will publish the images of the executions.

12.45 Baghdad. VIDEO SHOWS NEPALESE HOSTAGES ALIVE. On 28 August an Islamic web site had a video showing images of the hostages alive.

12.37 Rome. ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER "WE ARE WORKING TO OBTAIN THE REMAINS". Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says Italy is working to obtain the remains of Enzo Baldoni.


12.10 Paris. FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER VISITS PARIS MOSQUE. Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin has been invited by Imam Dalil Boubakeur this afternoon to the Paris Mosque to "unite the efforts of the Muslim community in France" to gain the release of the French hostages in Iraq.

12.07 Teheran. IRANIAN GOVERNMENT CONDEMNS KIDNAPPERS. Iran has condemned the Islamic Army in Iraq.

11.31 Paris. CHIRAC: "WE WILL DO EVERYTHING TO OBTAIN THE RELEASE OF THE FRENCH HOSTAGES". Chirac, in attendance at a French-Russian-German summit in Sotchi, says every effort is being made to free hostages.

11.28 Cairo. FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER IN TALKS WITH JORDANIAN FM. After stops in Baghdad and Cairo, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier met with his Jordanian colleague Marwan el Muasher, whom he as asked to intervene with Iraqi tribal clans to seek the release of Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot.


10.57 Strasbourg. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SIGNS PETITION TO FREE FRENCH HOSTAGES. 160 European MPs have signed a petition circulated by Dutch Socialist representative Thijs Berman demanding the immediate release of the French hostages.

10.51 Baghdad. CHIRAC, PUTIN AND SCHROEDER AT SUMMIT IN RUSSIA. The three are meeting at the Black Sea resort of Sotchi.

10.31 Ramallah. HAMAS PLEADS FOR RELEASE OF HOSTAGES. Hamas of Palestine pleads for the release of French hostages Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot.

10.22 Baghdad. AL SADR: "FREE THE FRENCH HOSTAGES". Radical Shi'ite leader Moqtada al Sadr pleads for release of hostages though an interview with a spokesman, Sheik Youssef al-Nasseri on Al Jazeera.

10.18 Baghdad. FRENCH GOVERNMENT: "CONTACTS AND INITIATIVES IN PROGRESS". French Minister of Culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres says there is some progress.

10.00 Strasbourg. NEW PLEA FROM EU PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT. Incoming European Parliament President Josep Borrell pleads for release of French hostages in the name of the EU.

9.45 Kirkuk. HIGHER EDUCATION OFFICIAL The Director-General of Higher Education in Kirkuk, Ibrahim Ismail Abdullah, was killed this morning when gunmen opened fire on his car. His bodyguard was seriously wounded.

9.00 Baghdad. NEW CLASHES SADR CITY. New clashes between Moqtada Al Sadr's militiamen and US troops.

7.55 Fallujah. MANY INSURGENTS DIE IN COMBAT IN FALLUJAH. Insurgents attack a US outpost in the northeast part of the city with mortars and RPGs. Tanks then attacked the rebels.

7.35 Washington. TORTURE, CAREER ENDS FOR FOUR US GENERALS. Ricardo Sanchez and three other generals are indirectly linked to torture at Abu Ghraib and will be charged with crimes.

7.30 Paris. RAFFARIN GOVERNMENT IN EMERGENCY MEETING. French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin met this morning in Matignon Palace after ultimatum for hostages is extended.

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.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

29 August 2004 Events in Iraq

19.00 Paris. CHIRAC DISPATCHES FOREIGN MINISTER TO MIDDLE EAST. French President Chirac has dispatched FM Michel Barnier to the Middle East to work towards release of French hostages.

18.00 Paris. FRANCE REDOUBLES ITS EFFORTS TO FREE JOURNALISTS. France has redoubled its efforts in the region to gain the release of its kidnapped journalists.

17.20 Doha. AL JAZEERA, TALKS BETWEEN SHI'A AND US END PREMATURELY. Talks between Shi'a tribal leaders, clerics and politicians and US representative end prematurely in Sadr City. Al Jazeera reports that radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has rejected a US demand to disarm.

15.28 Warsaw. POLAND, OPPOSITION LAUNCHES SIGNATURE DRIVE TO PULL OUT OF IRAQ. The Polish Agrarian Party, one of the largest opposition parties in the country, have launched a signature campaign to demande an immediate pullout of Iraq. Surveys say 70% of Polish voters are against the presence of Polish troops in Iraq.

15.12 Baghdad. IRAQI SALAFIST GROUP PLEA FOR RELEASE OF HOSTAGES. The Irchad wal-Fatwa has issued a plea for the release of two kidnapped French journalists. We ask the Islamic Army of Iraq to free the two French journalists in consideration of France's anti-war stance and in recognition of their reporting of the crimes committed daily by the Americans against the Iraqi people.

15,10 Baghdad. ALLAWI PLEDGES TO DISARM MAHDI ARMY. PM Iyad Allawi has pledged to disarm Shi'a militia members who do not surrender their weapons.

15.08 Baghdad. KIDNAPPED FRENCH JOURNALISTS: APPEAL FROM SUNNI AND WAHHABI GROUPS. This highest Sunni religious organization and a group of conservative Wahhabis issue plea for release of French reporters. A spokesman for the Council of Ulema, Sheik Abdul Sattar Abdul Jabbar says the wearing of the veil in French high schools is an internal French matter. The ultraconservative Wahhabi Irshad e al-Fatwa requests the immediate release of the journalists.

15,02 Baghdad. AL SADR SPOKESMAN: "WE WILL NOT DISSOLVE THE MAHDI ARMY. Sheikh Ahmad al-Shibani, spokesman for Al Sadr, says the agreement between al-Sadr and Ayatollah Ali Sistani does not provide for the dissolution of the Mahdi Army.


.13.30 Paris. DE VILLEPIN AND FRENCH MUSLIMS PLEA FOR RELEASE OF JOURNALISTS. French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin and the French Council of the Muslim Faith plea for release of journalists, saying that secular schools must be respected.

12:00 Najaf. INVESTIGATION OF SADR TRIBUNAL. PM Iyad Allawi alleges the 25 corpses found inside the shrine were the remains of Iraqis executed by an al-Sadr tribunal. Moqtada al-Sadr says the slain had been members of the Madhi Army.

11.37 Mossul. US TROOPS KILL TWO INSURGENTS After a violent encounter, US troops kill 2 insurgents and wounded 35 others. The clashes occurred in Tal Afar, near Mossul. Two US convoys came under guerrilla attack.

11.32 Basrah. ANOTHER PIPELINE SABOTAGED. Another pipeline was sabotaged in southern Iraq. The Iraqi Oil Company is attempting to put out the blaze.

11.00 Strasbourg. EUROPEAN UNION EXPLORATORY MISSION TO BAGHDAD. The Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot is in Baghdad at the head of an EU exploratory mission in talks with Iyad Allawi and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari to discuss how the EU might shore up its support for the country.

10:38 Baghdad. CLASHES IN BAGHDAD AND US AIRSTRIKE ON FALLUJAH, 16 DEAD AND 46 WOUNDED. 10 Iraqis died and 26 were wounded in clashes between the Mahdi Army and US troops. In Fallujah, 6 are killed and 20 wounded in a US air strike.

10.35 Baghdad. COMMUNIQUE FROM ISLAMIC WEBSITE. The Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades announce that the Vatican will never be one of their targets.

10.19 Baghdad. TERRORISM: NEW THREATS TO ITALY, BUT THE VATICAN SPARED. A group linked to Al Qaeda has published threats to Italy on its website.

9.45 Paris. FRENCH MUSLIMS TENSE. The Imam of the Paris Mosque, Dalil Bubaker, says he fears attacks on the French Muslim community after kidnapping of journalists in Iraq.


Saturday, August 28, 2004

28 August 2004 Events in Iraq

23.15 Baghdad. SUNNI ULEMA PLEA FOR RELEASE OF FRENCH HOSTAGES. The main Sunni organization of clerics have issued an appeal for the release of the two French journalists.

21.07 Doha. AL JAZEERA BROADCASTS VIDEO SHOWING FRENCH HOSTAGES. Kidnapped French journalists Christian Chesnot of Radio France International and Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro were shown in a video received by al Jazeera.

21.05 Baghdad. 48 HOUR ULTIMATUM ISSUED TO PARIS. The kidnappers of two French journalists have given Paris a 48-hour ultimatum.

20.45 Baghdad. TWO FRENCH CITIZENS KIDNAPPED. Al Jazeera reports new abduction. The kidnappers demand that Paris reverse it decision to ban the veil in French schools. They are held by the Islamic Army of Iraq, the same group who executed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni.

17.30 Cairo ISLAMIC WEBSITE HAS VIDEO SHOWING 12 NEPALESE HOSTAGES. An Islamic site has a video in which 12 Nepalese hostages say they were duped into working in Iraq by “American lies.”

17.25 Najaf. MINISTERS INSPECT DAMAGE TO CITY AND SHRINE. A team of ministers from the Iraqi caretaker government flew to Najaf today to inspect damage to the city and the the Shrine of Ali.

17.00 Nasssiriya. ITALIAN REGIMENT TO RETURN TO ITALY 7 SEPTEMBER. The Venetian regiment, the "Serenissima", returns to Italy on 7 may after four months in Nassiriya.

16.42 Baquba. DEATH TOLL MOUNTS. The bombing of a police station in the al-Tahir quarter in Baquba killed at least six persons and wounded 11.

16.30 Baquba. 5 POLICE KILLED AND 8 WOUNDED. Guerrillas attack police station in Baquba.

14.12 Teheran. IRAN READY TO FINANCE RECONSTRUCTION OF SHRINE IN NAJAF. Iran is ready to finance reconstruction and repair work on the Shrine of Ali in Najaf.

13.09 Mossul. UNIVERSITY INSTRUCTOR KILLED IN MOSUL. Iman Abdul Moneam Younis was ambushed as she walked to her car in Mosul.

13.02 Najaf. SISTANI CALLS SUMMIT OF SHI'A CLERGY. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani held a summit of Shi'a clergy, the 'Marjaiya', this morning in Najaf.

13.01 Baiji. ONE EGYPTIAN KILLED AND ANOTHER WOUNDED. Jawadee Baker was killed and Nasser Jumaa wounded and taken hostage in Baiji, an oil center, 180 km north of Baghdad.

13.00 Teheran. KHATAMI, 'WITHOUT IRAN, THERE CAN BE NO PEACE IN IRAQ OR THE MIDDLE EAST'. Without the participation of Iran there will be no peace or stability in Iraq or in the Middle East, says Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Khatami emphasized that Teheran cannot be ignored in the peace process for the region and in the Middle East. Even the United States realizes that it can do nothing in Iraq of Afghanisant without Iran.

12.59 Baghdad. MORTAR ROUNDS KILL TWO CIVILIANS. Two civilians were killed by mortar fire in the eastern part of the city. They had been standing in front of the Iraqi Olympic Committee headquarters.

12.57 Kirkuk. TWO SECURITY GUARDS KILLED IN SHOOTOUT WITH US TROOPS. Two security guards in Kirkuk were gravely wounded in a shoot-out with US troops.

12.56 Najaf. MARJAIYA REITERATES REJECTION OF ARMED STRUGGLE. The Marjaiya, the Shi'ite council of senior ayatollahs, repeated their rejection of armed struggle against the occupation.

12.52 Falluja. US AIRSTRIKE KILLS 5 DEAD AND INJURES 33. Victims include women and children as the US strikes the northeast quarter of al-Askari.

Friday, August 27, 2004

27 August 2004 Events in Iraq.

21.31 Doha. TURKISH HOSTAGES FOUND DEAD. Al Jazeerah ha says the corpses of two Turks were found near Baiji, 200 km north of Baghdad. They could be the bodies Abdullah Ozdemir and Aki Daskin, kidnapped by a group of radical Islamists.

20.51 Strasbourg. JAVIER SOLANA, EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE TO ENSURE STABILITY. Javier Solana, the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs says the EU should do everything possible to bring stability to Iraq.

19.48 Baghdad. ALLAWI TO BERLUSCONI, ITALY INDISPENSIBLE FOR IRAQ. Allawi thanks Italy for its deployment under UN Resolution 1546.


19.14 Najaf. SISTANI WANTS INVESTIGATION OF DEMONSTRATION MASSACRE. Grand Ayatollah Alì al-Sistani says an inquest should be opened into the events in Kufa and Najaf which cost the lives of dozens of people heeding Sistani’s call to march on Najaf.


18.44 Baghdad. POLICE SEARCH CHALABI’S OFFICES IN BAGHDAD. The police searched the offices of Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, says party spokesman Mithal al-Alussi.

18.31 Baghdad. IRAQIS COUNT ON AL SISTANI TO BUILD DEMOCRACY. Iraqis say they are counting on al-Sistani to bring peace and stability to Iraq.

17.45 Kashmir MUSLIMS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST USA. Police broke up a street demonstration of thousands of people chanting ‘Down With the USA’ in Kashmir with tear gas.


17.15 Najaf. US TROOPS WITHDRAW FROM CITY. US troops have left Najaf after Moqtada Sadr’s militiamen left the Shrine of Ali. However two tanks were sighted in the eastern part of the city. Iraqi police patrol the streets.

16.15 Baghdad. ATTACKS ON PATROLS IN BAGHDAD, 12 US SOLDIERS WOUNDED. Twelve US soldiers were wounded today in three different attacks on patrols in the city. The first attack was at 10:00 am local time when eight grenades were thrown at a patrol, wounding five troops. The second occurred an hour later--another five soldiers were wounded in a grenade attack. In the third attack, also using grenades, 2 were wounded.

15.45 Baghdad. RELATIVE OF DEFENSE MINISTER RELEASED. One of two relatives of the Defense Minister, Hazim al-Shalan, has been released according to Al Jazeerah. He had been kidnapped by the "Brigades of Divine Fury".

14.27 Basrah. TWO PIPELINES SABOTAGED LEADING TO DROP IN EXPORTS. Saboteurs attacked two oil pipelines in Iraq. Following the attacks, the rate of export of crude from the Basrah and Khor al-Amaya dropped to 1.5 million barrels per day from 1,6. Output is down 25% overall from Monday when 2 million barrels per day were produced.

14.00 Najaf. POLICE SAY 25 CORPSES FOUND IN SHRINE. Iraqi police say they have found the bodies of executed, mutilated or burned civilians and police in an advanced state of decomposition inside the shrine.


12.45 Mosul. CARBOMB WOUNDS US SOLDIER. A roadside bomb struck a US convoy in the Yarmouk quarter of Mosul. One US soldier and 10 bystanders, including a woman, were wounded.

12.20 nAJAF. SHRINE OF ALI EMPTIES OUT, SISTANI DELEGATION ARRIVES. Approximately three hours after the deadline established by the peace plan, the Shrine of Ali emptied out. The pilgrims arriving in Najaf in support of Sistani as well as followers of Moqtada al-Sadr have vacated the shrine, except for a handful of Sadr commanders. Sistani then dispatched a 12-man delegation that did not enter as clean-up work was in progress inside.

12.13 Kuwait City. KUWAITI FIRM PULLS OUT OF IRAQ. The Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Co.(Kgl)will cease operations in Iraq. A group called The Black Flags Division of the Secret Islamic Army has threatened to kill their employees unless the firm ceases operations.

12.00 Baghdad. POLICE RELEASE IRANIAN JOURNALIST. Iranian journalist Mostafa Darban, arrested along with three of this colleagues on August 9, has been released by police, says the "Irna" press agency. The arrest led to the worst escalation of tensions between two countries since the First Gulf War of 1980-1988.


11.24 Baghdad. US OPERATION IN HAIFA STREET, SHOOT-OUT. US tanks entered the quarter as helicopter gun ships hovered above. The street has been blocked off and smoke is seen rising from the area.

10.15 Najaf. SISTANI RECEIVES KEYS TO SHRINE OF ALI. Dubai's "al-Arabiya" TV broadcast the news.


9.50 Najaf. DEADLINE FOR EVACUATION OF SHRINE PASSES, ARMED MEN STILL INSIDE. At 10:00 am local time, the Mahdi Army is still within the Shrine.

9.30 Fallujah. US SOLDIER DIES IN ROAD ACCIDENT. A US soldier was killed in Fallujah when his truck overturned.

8.00 Najaf. THOUSANDS OF FAITHFUL MARCH TO TOMB OF ALI. As Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers to disarm, thousands of faithful entered the sacred shrine singing and praying peacefully. Not one US soldier was seen in the vicinity, nevertheless, gunfire was heard.

6.55 Najaf. A PORTION OF SADR'S MEN LAY DOWN ARMS. Several Sadr fighters deposited their arms at a collection point outside the shrine and changed into civilian clothes.

6.30 Najaf. AL SADR ORDERS MILITIAS TO DISARM. Al Sadr uses mosque public address system reserved for morning prayers to call upon his follower to disarm.


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.

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.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

24 August 2004 Events in Iraq

23.59 Najaf. US TANKS POISED 20 METERS FROM SHRINE US tanks have moved close to the shrine of Ali in Najaf

20.48 Najaf. POWERFUL BLASTS ROCK CITY. Reuters reports explosions in Najaf.

19.51 Baghdad. GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES OCTOBER CENSUS. Iraqi Minister for Planning Madhi al-Hafez announces October census if security situation permits.

19.22 –Amara. NUMBER OF VICTIMS CLIMBS IN CLASHES. According to hospital sources at least 12 persons, including three children, have been killed and 54 wounded in battles between British troops and the Mahdi Army.

19.20 Doha. AL JAZEERA, SILENCE ON ORIGIN OF BALDONI VIDEO. Al Jazeera refuses to supply details on origin of video.

19.18 Najaf. NEW US AIRSTRIKES As a final assault on the Shrine of Ali seems imminent, the US lauched a sunset airstrike using Apache helicopters.

18.59 Rome. BALDONI: ALL ‘007’ AVENUES OPENED. Italian intelligence says it is on the trail of kidnapped journalist Enzo Baldoni.

18.33 Baghdad. NO NEWS ON FRENCH JOURNALISTS. No news concerning French journalists Christian Chesnot of Radio France and Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro, kidnapped last Friday in Iraq.

17.42 – VIDEO SHOWING BALDONI WORK OF PROFESSIONALS. The Al Jazeera video showing Enzo Baldoni was recorded by professionals.

17.35 – BRITISH TROOPS AND SHI’ITE MILITIA CLASH IN AMARA, 3 DEAD. Zahrawi Hospital reports that the Mahdi Army attacked a British Base at 4:00 pm local ttime 17.34 – BALDONI VIDEO, ITALIAN GOVERNMENT INFORMED BEFORE BROADCAST The Qatari television network 'Al Jazira' informed the Italian government of the delivery of the video before its broadcast.

17.20 – US CONFIRMS AIR STRIKE ON FALLUJAH. 17.19 - AL JAZEERA READS REPLY OF ITALIAN GOVERNMENT. Despite the ultimatum, Italy’s ambassador and contingent will remain in iraq.

17.15 - BALDONI TO WRITE BOOK ON IRAQI RESISTANCE. Enzo Baldoni says he is "in Iraq because I am writing a book on the iraqi resistance".


16.19 Najaf. SADR’S MEN SAY THEY ARE READY TO NEGOTIATE. Sadr spokesman Ali Smeisin says Sadr’s men willing to negotiate with government.

16.18 Baghdad. 48 HOURS ULTIMATUM FOR ENZO BALDONI. The group, “Islamic Army," gives Italy a 48-hour ultimatum to pull out of Iraq or journalist Baldoni will be executed.

16.04 Doha. AL JAAZERA BROADCASTS VIDEO SHOWING ENZO BALDONI. Al Jazeera has broadcast a videotape showing Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, kidnapped 19 August near Najaf.

15.56 Doha. AL JAZEERA CEO: WE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Our mission is to fight for freedom of expression, says Al Jazeera Director-General Wadah Khanfar.

15.51 Baghdad. AL SHALAN: ATTACK ON SHRINE TO COMMENCE. We have now completed our planning to liberate the sacred site of the Shrine of Alì now in the hands of the Mahdi Army, says Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalan.

15.07 Warsaw. PUBLIC DISCONTENT RISES IN POLAND OVER PRESENCE OF CONTINGENT IN IRAQ. Public discontent is growing in Poland over the Iraq crisis. Marek Borowski of the Polish Socialdemocrats, part of the current governing coalition, has called for withdrawal of the Polish contingent.

15.02 Baghdad. GOVERNMENT REJECTS IDEA OF REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON NAJAF. Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari rejects Iran's proposal for a regional conference on Iraq. It's an internal matter which must be resolved according to the law and the sovereignty of the State. Iraqi rejects the idea of a international conference.

14.34 Baghdad. LEBANESE HOSTAGE FREED. Mohammad kidnapped a week ago has been set free.

14.24 Najaf. SADR WILL BE KILLED OR CAPTURED IF HE RESISTS. Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan warns that the imam will be killed or captured if he resists the advance of Iraqi forces on the Shrine.


13.51 Washington. TORTURE, REPORT ACCUSES POLITICAL AND MILITARY OFFICIALS. Two separate, independent reports on prisoner abuse Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq, have issued the same conclusions: military and civilian officials within the Department of Defense are at least partially responsible for the violence.

13.49 Kirkuk. OIL EXPORTS FROM KIRKUK FIELDS TO RESUME. Iraq to restart pipeline transmission and to set up pipeline surveillance.

12.14 Najaf. NATIONAL GUARD READY TO "CLEAN OUT NAJAF VERY SOON". Najaf Governor Adnan al-Zorfi warns Sadr militia in Najaf.

11.54 Baghdad. RESPONSIBILITY FOR ATTTEMPT ON LIFE OF ENVIRONMENT MINISTER CLAIMED BY ZARWAQI. An Islamic web site attributes assassination attempt to Jordanian Abu Mussab al Zarqawi and his group. "Tawhid wal jihad".

11.47 Najaf. REBEL MISSILE DAMAGES SHRINE. US military claims a rebel rocket damaged the outer wall of the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf.

11.08 Najaf. DEFENSE MINISTER ISSUES ULTIMATUM: "SURRENDER NOW." Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan issues ultimatum to rebels in Najaf."

10.34 Basrah. SHI'ITE STREET DEMONSTRATIONS: U.S. OUT OF NAJAF. A large number of Shi'a fighters marched in the streets of Basrah today, waving rifles and grenades, demanding the US leave Najaf. Demonstrators burned tires and built barricades in the streets.

10.26 Najaf. AID CONVOY ATTACKED, TWO KILLED. Iraqi gunmen attacked a truck and an ambulance transporting aid to Najaf, killing two. The two vehicles were attacked near Latifiya, south of Bagdad. Two corpses were observed in the ambulance.

10.20 Najaf. 6 HOMES DESTROYED NEAR MOSQUE, POPULATION FLEES. Six homes were destroyed as US tanks drew nearer to the Shrine. The population has decided to flee.

9.50 Najaf. IRAQI NATIONAL GUARD JOIN US TROOPS. The Iraqi National Guard has been deployed for the first time Najaf. An attack on the shrine is thought imminent.

8.44 Baghdad. ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON TWO MINISTER, 5 BODYGUARDS KILLED. Environment Minister Mrs. Mishkat Moumin and Education Minister Sami al-Mudhaffar survived an assassination attempt in two separate incidents this morning, as a carbomb and a roadside bomb went off, killing their bodyguards.

8.00 Baghdad. CARBOMB: BODYGUARDS FOR MINISTER OF EDUCATION KILLED. Four bodyguards died during an assassination attempt on Education Minister Sami al-Mudhaffar.

7.54 Baghdad. SUICIDE CARBOMB. Suicide car bomber targets Minister of Education.

7.28 Baghdad. US PATROL ATTACKED, SOLDIER KILLED. A US soldier was killed and two others wounded in an RPG attack.

7.22 Rome. NO NEWS FROM JOURNALIST ENZO BALDONI. Nothing has been heard from missing Italian journalist Baldoni.

7.07 Baghdad. CARBOMB TARGETS MINISTER. 2 DEAD, 3 WOUNDED. Education Minister Sami al-Mudhaffar was unharmed after an assassination attempt.

7.03 Najaf. AIRSTRIKE AND AC-130 TARGET REBELS. The US launched an airstrike on militants in Najaf as an Ac-130 overflew the zone.

7.00 Fallujah. US LAUNCHES NEW AIRSTRIKES ON CITY. US warplanes struck the southwest of the city during the night. Tanks later moved into the area.

Monday, August 23, 2004

23 August 2004 Events in Iraq

Still 'razing' the dead in Najaf.

16.53 Najaf. US FORCES ADVANCE ON SHRINE. US forces continue their advance toward the shrine of Ali. Tanks are 200 meters from the compound,

16.01 Washington. WHITEHOUSE PHONES KREMLIN. President George W. Bush phones Vladimir Putin to discuss Iraq crisis.

15.34 Katmandu. NEPAL TO IRAQI INSURGENTS: "RELEASE OUR HOSTAGES". The Government of Nepal has issued a plea on al-Jazeera for the release of 12 Nepalese hostages taken last Friday. FM Prakash Sharan Mahat emphasized that they had been in Iraq for years and that Nepal rejected the invitation to deploy its troops in Iraq.

14.42 Kabala. ABANDONED CAR YIELDS WEAPONS CACHE. Bulgarian troops find artillery shells, grenades, grenade launchers and light arms in an abandoned car.

13.40 Basrah. GUERRILLA ACTION IN BASRAH. A police official was assassinated in Basrah.

13:35 Kirkuk. KURDISH POLITICAL LEADER KILLED. Two separate attacks near Kirkuk assassinated a Kurdish politician, Shezad Hussein Ali al-Jabari, at the wheel of his car and wounded a civilian.


12.35 Kuala Lumpur. OIC DEMANDS UN INTERVENTION IN NAJAF. Malaysia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Organization of Islamic Conferrences, has demanded UN intervention in Najaf. Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, OIC President, says the continuing conflict in Najaf will destabilize Iraq and threaten the 2005 elections.

12.15 Rome. BALDONI FAMILY ASKS FOR MEDIATION OF THE RED CROSS. The family of kidnapped journalist Enzo Baldoni has asked for help from the Red Cross.

11.53 Mosul. ONE PHILIPPINO AND ONE INDONESIAN KILLED. The two foreigners were attacked in their car near Mosul.

11.50 Teheran. KHATAMI (IRAN): "CARETAKER IRAQI GOVERNMENT MAY LOSE LEGITIMACY". Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, says the support of the Iraqi government of US operations against the rebels led by al-Sadr in the holy city of Najaf will cause the caretaker government to lose all consensus and legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people.

11.30 Najaf. NATIONAL CONFERENCE AWAITS RESPONSE FROM AL SADR ON DEPARTURE FROM NAJAF. The delegation of the Iraqi National Conference, which went to Najaf last week to meet with radical Shi'ite leader Moqtada Sadr, says it is still awaiting his response on a withdrawal from the Shrine of Ali.".

10.35 Najaf. FRENCH REPORTER CONFIRMS DAMAGE TO SHRINE OF ALI. An AFP reporter in Najaf confirms that a rocket demolished a wall of the sacred compound. There is a hole six feet wide and one foot deep in the western wall of the compound.

10.30 Tikrit. AMBUSH IN TIKRIT, THREE DEAD. One Turk and two Iraqis working as laborers repairing a bridge were killed in an ambush.

9.20 Basrah. SOUTHERN PIPELINE REOPENED. Iraqi security forces supported by US troops patrol pipeline

8.20 Najaf. SADR SPOKESMAN. Responsibility for security of the Shrine of Ali will be handed over to the religious authorities of the holy city of Najaf, says Sheikh Ahmed al-Sheibani, adding that if US troops return to their bases, the militia will resume "normal civilian life."

7.30 Najaf. VIOLENT COMBAT. Violent combat continues around the Shrine of Ali, after an attack by an Ac-130 then by US assault helicopters.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

22 August 2004 Events in Iraq

20.45 Baghdad. PHOTOS OF NEPALESE HOSTAGES AT WEBSITE. Photos of hostages at one of Ansar al Sunna's website.

20.36 Nassiriya. GAREN: "THANKS TO EVERYONE". Micah Garen thanks everyone for working towards his release after he is let go in Nassiriya.

20.29 Mosul. US SOLDIER KILLED. A US soldier was killed in Mossul when his convoy hit a roadside bomb.

20.04 Nassiriya. MICAH GAREN FREED.

19.57 Khalis. CAR BOMB EXPLODES IN KHALIS, TWO DEAD. A remote-controlled carbomb exploded today in Khalis, 80 km north of Baghdad, killing two and wounding four, including the deputy mayor of the town.

19.15 Al-Anbar. THREE MARINES KILLED. Three marines were killed in separate incidents in Al-Anbar Province, in central Iraq.

19.10 Rome. "BALDONI, NO CONFIRMATION OF MURDER OF DRIVER". There is still no confirmation that the corpse recovered in Malmudyia is that of Ghareeb, driver for Enzo Baldoni, says the correspondent for Radio-Television Italia in Baghdad, Pino Scaccia, in his blog (

17.50 Mosul. ATTACK IN MOSUL. One Indonesian and two Iraqis were killed and one Philippino wounded, in an attack on their vehicle convoy in downtown Mosul (370 km north of Baghdad). An armed group attacked two vehicles transporting engineers, translators and their bodyguards.

16.06 Najaf. "SADR STILL IN NAJAF. THE RESISTANCE CONTINUES". Moqtada al-Sadr is still in Najaf and has no intention of abandoning the city says spokesman Shaibani. The handover of control of the shrine in no way means the guerrillas intend on abandoning their fight agaist the Americans.

15.32 Baghdad. MISSING FRENCH JOURNALISTS AUTHORS OF BIOGRAPHY OF SADDAM. Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot published a biography of Saddam two years ago.

14.33 London. UK BLOGGER AND IRAQ POLICE CONFIRM DEATH OF BALDONI'S INTERPRETER. The British 'blogger' who first gave the news of the possible kidnapping of Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni says he has proof of the death of Ghareeb, the journalist's interpreter.

13.40 Najaf. ATTACK ON US TANKS. Militants launched an RPG attack on US tanks which came within 300 of the shrine. The tanks returned fire and the detonations were felt inside the mosque.


13.08 Najaf. SADR: "HANDOVER OF SHRINE OF ALI SUSPENDED". The handover of the keys to the Shrine of Alì in Najaf to grande ayatollah Alì al Sistani is on hold.


12.05 Najaf. US TANKS ADVANCE ON MOSQUE. US tanks are within 800 meters of the Shrine of Ali.

12.03 Rome. DAUGHTER OF ENZO BALDONI IS OPTIMISTIC. Gabriella Baldoni, has made a blog entry at her father's site, saying she is optimistic that her father will be found.

11.55 Najaf. 20 KILLED NEAR CITY. 20 people died in combat in Kufa between US forces and Moqtada al-Sadr's guerrillas.


08.55 Baquba CARBOMB: TWO DEAD, EIGHT WOUNDED. Deputy Mayor Ghassan al Ghadren was the target of a carbombing in Baquba. He survived the assassination attempt.

08.45 Baghdad. NO NEWS ON FRENCH JOURNALISTS. No news from George Malbrunot of Le Figaro and Christian Chesnot of Radio France International.



01.29 Najaf. US ATTACK ON MILITIA. US airstrikes cause violent explosions which shook the holy city of Najaf.

01.00 Najaf. EXPLOSION AND FIRE. A huge fire broke out in Najaf after US bombardment and an Ac-130 gunship attack.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

21 August 2004 Events in Iraq

3 US troops killed, 5 wounded in action today. Italian public aroused over kidnapped Italian journalist. Sacred Shi'a shrine in Kufa damaged.

23.30 Baghdad. TWO FRENCH JOURNALISTS KIDNAPPED.George Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and Christian Chesnot of French radio have not been heard of since Thursday, the French foreign ministry said.[Ten to one it's the Iraqi police who've been kidnapping the French and Italian journalists.--PT]

23.20 Najaf. HUGE CONFLAGRATION. A huge fire has broken out in the southern part of the city after a series of explosions and gunfire from US AC-130 gunships.

20.30 Ramadi. US TROOPS ARREST RAMADI POLICE CHIEF. PROTESTS FOLLOW. Ramadi police officers and officials have protested the arrest of their police chief. General Jaadan Mohammed Khubaisi was taken into custody with no explanation. Khubaisi's son, Ahmed, says the Ramadi police have turned in their uniforms and threaten to quit. A few hours earlier Colonel Saad Samir al-Dulaimi, head of the anticrime unit in Ramadi, was assassinated as he left his home.

19.20 Baghdad. US JOURNALIST TO BE RELEASED. The Bagdad office of Moqtada Al Sadr say it has contacted the kidnappers of Micah Garen and that they will release Garen soon.

18.30 Baghdad. SHI'ITE SOURCES CONFIRM MURDER OF BALDONI'S DRIVER. Shi'ite sources have confirmed the murder of Ghareeb, Enzo Baldoni's driver. Ghareeb body was found in the morgue at the Al Iskandaria Hospital in Latifiya, 50km from Baghdad.

18.18 Rome. RAFFAELE BALDONI WORRIED BUT HOPEFUL. Raffaele Baldoni, brother of missing Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, has not given up hope that his brother will be found.

18.10 Najaf. RENEWED COMBAT. Marines and Moqtada Al Sadr's militia have resumed combat in Najaf. Mortar, RPG and machine gun fire is heard. A US drone aircraft was shot down.

17.55 Baghdad. DRIVER FOR JOURNALIST BALDONI FOUND DEAD. Red Cross sources report that the body of the driver for Enzo Baldoni has been located in a Baghdad morgue. Fellow journalist Franco Gialdinelli says Baldoni was likely ambushed by a criminal gang, not Iraqi guerrillas.

17.25 Hilla THREE POLISH SOLDIERS KILLED. Three, not one as reported previously, Polish soldiers were killed this morning in Hilla in an ambush on their convoy.

17.09 Basrah. ATTEMPTED PIPELINE SABOTAGE. An explosion hit a pumping station in southern Iraq, 20 km from Basrah.

16.58 Najaf. SADR, "SISTANI HINDERS HANDOVER OF KEYS TO SHRINE". A spokesman for Moqtada Sadr say the keys to the Shrine of Ali in Najaf have not as yet been handed over to the office of Ayatollah Ali Sistani because Sistani has imposed two conditions: 1) No one to remain outside or inside the shrine, which will be locked shut and 2) keys to be handed over in a sealed envelope.

16.04 Ramallah. ISLAMIC JIHAD SUPPORTS MUQTADA SADR. Sheik Nafez Azzam, a leader of the Sunni Arab Palestinian Islamic Jihad said today in Gaza that his organization backs Moqtada al Sadr. Mosques and holy shrines in Palestine and Iraq are purposely selected by the Zionists and the Americans to cause mayhem.

14.35 Rome. "BALDONI IS KIDNAPPED". Radio-Television Italia correspondent Pino Scaccia confirms in his reporter's blog ( that freelance reporter Enzo Baldoni has been kidnapped.

14.24 Ramadi. GUERRILLA STRIKE, 4 DEAD,11 WOUNDED. Guerrilla action in the so-called "Sunni Triangle." west of Baghdad killed four and wounded 11.

13.23 Mosul. BOMB KILLS 1, WOUNDS 5. An Iraqi national guardsman was killed and five others wounded, including 3 civilians, by a bomb in Mosul.

12.00 Hilla. POLE KILLED. Polish convoy attacked, six wounded and one killed by roadside bomb in Hilla, in central Iraq.

11.55 Baghdad. "BALDONI, NO CONTACT" No news from Enzo Baldoni, the Italian journalist who disappeared yesterday in Iraq.

10.22 Nassiriya. USA JOURNALIST TO BE RELEASED TODAY. It is expected that Micah Garen will be released today.

10.15 Baghdad. US SOLDIER KILLED, 2 OTHERS WOUNDED. Their Bradley vehicle took a direct hit from an RPG in south Baghdad.

10.04 Najaf. SADR MILITIA STILL HAS KEYS TO SHRINE OF ALI. The situation in Najaf is confused and contradictory.

10.02 Najaf. SADR WILL REMAIN IN SHRINE AFTER HANDOVER OF KEYS. The 'al-Mahdi' Army will remain the in shrine even after handover of keys to Ayatollah Sistani.

9.28 Najaf. SADR, WE WILL HAND OVER THE SHRINE ONLY TO AYATOLLAH SISTANI. Moqtada al-Sadr plans to hand over the keys not only to the Shrine of Ali but the entire mosque complex to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, says Sheik Ahmed al-Sheibani, a Sadr spokesman.

8.51 Najaf. NEW TALKS IN PROGRESS OVER SHRINE OF ALI. New negotiations ongoing.

8.44 Kufa. VIOLENT CLASHES BETWEEN US TROOPS AND SHI'ITES. Violent combat in the city of Kufa, 10 km from Najaf, between US forces and Moqtada Sadr. The walls of the Shrine of Maithan al Tamam have been damaged.

8.33 Najaf. CARETAKER GOVERNMENT DELEGATION AWAITED. A cease fire is once again in effect in Najaf while awaiting the arrival of a delegation from the Baghdad government. However at dawn this moring, explosions were heard.


8.15 Najaf. FOUR EXPLOSIONS IN CITY. After a night of relative calm, four blasts were heard at dawn.

8.10 Samarra. US PATROL ATTACKED, 2 DEAD AND 3 WOUNDED. At least two US troops were killed and three wounded after a dynamite attack on their convoy near Samarra, 100 km north of Baghdad. 710 US troops haved died in Iraq since March 2003.

8.05 Baghdad. NO TRACE OF ENZO BALDONI . The Italian embassy in Baghdad reports no contact with missing Italian reporter.

7.59 Nassiriya. ITALIANS ATTACKED, NO INJURIES- An Italian armored vehicle, a "Dardo" belonging to Task Force Pegasus, came under RPG fire.

7.51 Najaf. MYSTERY SURROUNDS FATE OF AL SADR. Mystery surrounds the surrender of the Mahdi Army in Najaf. Some say Sadr has left Najaf. Sheik Ahmad al-Sheibani has denied the surrender.

Friday, August 20, 2004

20 August 2004 Events in Iraq

22:40 Karachi. MUSHARRAF TELLS USA TO RESPECT HOLY SITES. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf telephoned Gen. John Abizaid to express his concern for Shrine of Ali.

22.20 Nassiriya. GASOLINE TANK TRUCK EXPLODES: 4 DEAD IN NASSIRIYA. A gasoline truck explodes in front of Nassiriya's telecommunication center.


19.47 Najaf. KEYS TO SHRINE OF ALI HANDED OVER TO SISTANI. The Moqtada Al Sadr militiamen has “handed over the keys" of the Shrine of Ali to the representative of Ayatollah Al Sistani.

19.40 Najaf. CONTACT LOST WITH ITALIAN JOURNALIST FROM "IL DIARIO" There has been no contract from Italian reporter Enzo Baldoni. Baldoni joined a Red Cross convoy heading for Najaf but which was later halted.

19.25 Samarra. TWO US TROOPS KILLED IN SAMARRA. Two US soldiers were killed in an ambush prepared by guerrillas near Samara.

19.20 Baghdad. OIL PIPELINE FIRE. The al-Buzurgan pipeline near the Sayed Minihil Refinery, 350 km south of Baghdad is on fire.

19.10 Najaf. SISTANI INSTRUCTS NAJAF STAFF TO ACCEPT KEYS. Grand Ayatollah Alì al-Sistani has instructed his staff in Najaf to take possession of the keys to the Shrine of Ali from Moqtada al-Sadr.

18.47 Najaf. POLICE SAYS THEY DO NOT CONTROL SHRINE. Iraqi police says they do no control the Shrine Imam Ali in Najaf.

18.30 Baghdad. 12 NEPALESE CITIZENS KIDNAPPED. Ansar al-Sunna says it had kidnapped 12 Nepalese. Between 19th and 20th of August we took 12 Nepalese prisoners--infidels who collaborate with the American crusaders to assist them in their war on Islam.


17.33 Najaf. SPOKESMAN: AL SADR WILL LEAVE NAJAF ONLY AS A MARTYR. Moqtada al-Sadr is a son of Najaf and the leader of the Mahdi Army. He will leave the city only as a martyr, says spokesman Ahmad al-Sheibani.


16.37 Najaf. SADR SPOKESMAN CONTINUES TO DENY PRESENCE OF POLICE INSIDE SHRINE. Sadr spokesman Ahmad al-Sheibani tells Reuters that police have not entered into the shrine.” The Shrine of Ali is under the control of the Mahdi Army. - If they try to get in, we will fight them. The process of turning over the keys to Ayatollah Al Sistani is ongoing".


16.22 Najaf. AL SADR SPOKESMAN DENIES THAT POLICE CONTROL SHRINE. Sheik Ahmad al-Sheiban tells Al Jazeerah that police do not control shrine.

16.16 Najaf. COMBAT CONTINUES A Reuters cameraman, Haidar Salahuddine, says fighting continues near shrine.

16.13 Teheran. IRANIAN PRESIDENT KHATAMI CALLS FOR ISLAMIC CONFERENCE. Iranian President Mohammad Khatami asks for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conferences to find a solution to the Iraq crisis.

15.55 Najaf. 400 MILITANTS ARRESTED. Iraqi police says they arrested 400 Shi'ite militants.

15.55 Najaf. US JOURNALIST ON AL JAZEERA "I AM WELL TREATED". Micah Garen says he is being treated well in a video broadcast by al-Jazeerah.

15.40 Najaf. IRAQI POLICE CONTROL SHRINE. The Iraqi Interior Ministry says police control shrine of Ali.



15.10 Najaf. AGREEMENT TO RETURN CONTROL OF SHRINE TO SISTANI. Ayatollah Ali Sistani has accepted to take over shrine from Al Sadr militia.


14.40 Kirkuk. BOMB DAMAGES OIL PIPELINE. Sabotage has damaged a pipeline between the Kirkuk oilfields and the Baiji Refinery.

14.15 Baghdad. 13 DEAD IN LAST 24 HOURS. 13 people were killed and 107 wounded in Baghdad.

13.26 Najaf. SADR SENDS LETTER TO POPE REQUESTING MEDIATION. Italian journalists in Najaf receive letter for Pope from Al Sadr's representative.



12.55 Najaf. 77 DIE IN NAJAF IN LAST 24 HOURS.

12.41 Baghdad. ALLAWI, "WE WILL NOT ATTACK SHRINE OF ALI". Iraqi Premier Iyad Allawi says the Najaf shrine will not be attacked.

12.35 Baghdad. TWO EXTREMISTS KILLED IN SHOOTOUT WITH DUTCH TROOPS. Dutch Armed Forces spokesman Nico van der Zee says patrol returned fire after drive-by shooting, killing the occupants of the car.

12.31 Washington. CIA DRAFTS HYPOTHETICAL REPORT. Los Angeles Times reports that [in a cover-your-ass--Nur] initiative, the CIA will draft a report on what would have happened without the invasion.

12.17 Rome. ITALIAN EX-PRESIDENT COSSIGA SAYS ITALY SHOULD WITHDRAW TROOPS FROM IRAQ. Italian Ex-President Cossiga tells Italian Defense Minister that Italy should withdraw its contingent from Iraq with "humility and modesty'.

12.01 Rome. PARLIAMENTARY SESSION 27/8 TO REVIEW IRAQ CRISIS. The Foreign and Defense Ministers to appear before Italian parliament on 27 August to report on the Iraq crisis.

11.35 Najaf. SADR READY TO DIE A MARTYR. Sadr spokesman Ahmed al Shibani says, al-Sadr will remain in Najaf. He is now beside his soldiers, and will combat until martyrdom.


11.12 Baghdad. YESTERDAY'S TOLL IN CAPITAL: 10 DEAD AND 79 WOUNDED. Combat between al Sadr militants and US troops kill 10 and wound 79.

10.16 Najaf. AL SADR SPOKESMAN TURNS OVER KEYS TO SHRINE TO AL SISTANI. Sheik Ahmad Al Shibani has turned over the keys to the shrine of Ali to Ayatollah al Sistani.

10.07 Fallujah. NEW WAVE OF BOMBS STRIKE FALLUJAH. US warplanes launched a missile strike on the industrial zone of the city. Victims reported.

09.49 Najaf. SADR SPOKESMAN DEMANDS RELEASE OF US JOURNALIST. Sheik Awas al Khafaji, lieutenant of Moqtada al Sadr in Nassiriya, has demanded the release of Michael Garen.


08.50 Fallujah. AT LEAST 5 DEAD AND 6 WOUNDED. Midnight bombing of Fallujah kills five and wound six. Dr. Abdul-Karim al-Doulaimi says a dozen homes were destroyed.

08.47 Najaf. AMERICANS AND IRAQIS CONTROL OLD CITY. US troops and Iraqi security forces take control of old city in Najaf.

08.18 Najaf. CITY BOMBARDED ALL NIGHT LONG. US suspends bombing at dawn.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

19 August 2004 Events in Iraq

Tony Blair has invited Iyad Allawi to speak at the annual Labour Party conference. Most Labourites find the idea revolting.

Take a look at this porcine, pinky-ringed moustached doppelganger for Saddam Hussein threatening Najaf with annihilation, Kassem Daoud:

21.40 Najaf. SADR TELLS MILITIA: "LEAVE THE SHRINE". Agence France Presse reports that Sadr has told his followers to turn the keys to the Shrine of Ali over to the Marjayia, to "prevent the entry of infidels."

21.00 Najaf. SMOKE SEEN IN CEMETARY. Dense columns of smoke rise from the cemetary of Najaf.

20.57 Basrah. FIRE IN BASRAH. The headquarters of the South Oil Co.,in Basrah have been set on fire.

20.55 Najaf. SHI'ITE POSITIONS BOMBED. US launches air strikes on positions of Shi'a insurgents.

19.30 Baghdad. MORTAR FIRE HITS US EMBASSY. A mortar round impacts the rooftop of the US embassy, slightly wounding two employees.

18.45 Najaf. RICE: "NAJAF IS A POLITICAL TEST FOR IRAQ". Condoleezza Rice tells NBC that Najaf is a "political test" for the Iraqi government.

18.35 The Hague. HOLLAND INCREASES SECURITY FOR CONTINGENT. Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp says Holland will increase security for its contingent and will deploy another 60 troops.

16.19 Baghdad. ALLAWI: LAST APPEAL TO SADR FOR SURRENDER. PM Iyad Allawi has issued a last appeal to al-Sadr to surrender.

15.58 New York. ANNAN, UN IS PRIME TARGET FOR TERRORISM. Kofi Annan affirms that the UN is a prime target for terrorism and promises punishment to those responsible for last year's bombing of the UN installation in Iraq.

15.48 Najaf. US WARPLANES BOMB NAJAF HOTEL. US warplanes bomb the Doha Hotel in Najaf.


15.11 Najaf. THREAT TO BLOW UP SOUTHERN OIL WELLS. Spokesman for Moqtada al-Sadr says saboteurs are ready to blow up southern oil wells.

14.59 Baghdad. KIDNAPPERS OF TURKISH HOSTAGE ISSUE 72-HOUR ULTIMATUM. Truckdriver Aytullah Gezmen, 23, is threatened with execution unless his employer, who delivers supplies US troops, ceases to do business in Iraq.

14.58 Najaf. SADR SPOKEMAN, WE WILL NOT TURN OVER KEYS TO SHRINE OF ALI. We will not turn over the keys to the Shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf to US forces because this would be a desecration which will shame us forever. Neither will we give them to Iraqi police or forces which have violated the sanctuaries and spilled Muslim blood., says spokesman for Moqtada Sadr.

14.56 Najaf. SADR MILITIA REPLIES TO GOVERNMENT: WE ARE HAPPY TO DIE MARTYRS. Moqtada Sadr's Shi'ite militia are happy to fight and die as martyrs of Iraqi troops launch assault to end the resistance in Najaf.

14.54 Najaf. ATTACK ON NAJAF POLICE BARRACKS, DEATHTOLL UPDATE. 8 police are dead and 30 wounded in an attack on a Najaf police barracks.

14.18 Dubai. HARD FIGHTING NEAR SHRINE. Hard fighting continues near the Shrine of Imam Ali, says al-Arabiya TV.

14.15 Najaf. UNAUTHORIZED RED CROSS CONVOY HITS MINE. The Red Cross convoy attacked in Najaf was unauthorized. The mission chief is recalled.

14.01 Najaf. MORTAR ROUNDS HIT POLICE BARRACKS, THERE ARE VICTIMS. 5 dead and 25 wounded in mortar attack on police barracks in Najaf.

13.58 Najaf. SADR REJECTS GOVERNMENT ULTIMATUM. Sadr spokesman Ahmed al-Sheibani says Sadr has rejected ultimatum.

13.43 Baghdad. MORTAR FIRE NEAR GREEN ZONE. No word on damage or casualties.

13.33 Najaf. RED CROSS CONVOY ATTACKED NEAR NAJAF. A Red Cross convoy was attacked in the town of Babilonia, shattering the windshields and slightly wounding an Iraqi driver.

13.27 Najaf. MORTAR ROUNDS HIT POLICE BARRACKS. Three mortar rounds strike police barracks.

13.09 Kirkuk. TRUCK DRIVER KILLED AND THREE OIL COMPANY GUARDS WOUNDED. An Iraqi truck driver was killed in Kirkuk by gunfire outside a camp of the multinational forces. In the same area, three oil company guards were wounded in an attack on an oil well.


12.42 Baghdad. INTERIM PARLIAMENT TO SIT ON 1 SEPTEMBER. Parliament willl open in Bagdad on 1 September. Of its 100 members, 81 were elected yesterday in controversy. Iraqi MP Fouad Maasum made the announcement.

12.34 Salahuddin. IMAM OF SADDAM'S BIRTHPLACE SUPPORTS GOVERNMENT. The Imam of Salahuddin in northern Iraq and the Imam of Tikrit, birthplace of Saddam Hussine announce support for the interim government and the US occupation.


11.46 Nassiriya. ITALIAN PATROL ATTACKED, NO CASUALTIES. An Italian patrol was attacked north of Nassiriya with Rpg. An H-H3F helicopter was dispatched to track the fleeing insurgents.

11.44 Baghdad. IF SADR DOES NOT PULL OUT, ATTACK IMMINENT. Minister of State Kasim is determined to force a military solution if Sadr does not leave Najaf.

11.15 Najaf. SADR CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO ENTER PEACE TALKS. Moqtada Sadr has requested further talks on the details of the ceasefire brokered in Najaf.

10.34 Amman. ISLAMISTS THREATEN JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT ON INTERNET. An Islamist group threatens Jordan and its foreign residents if it does not stop sending trooops to assist US forces in Iraq.

10.29 Baghdad. NEW GOVERNMENT ULIMATUM TO SADR, "THESE ARE THE FINAL HOURS". Kassem Daoud, spokesman for the caretaker government, warns that "These are the final hours for Moqtada al Sadr.".

10.19 Baghdad. US SOLDIER KILLED YESTERDAY IN BAGHDAD. Soldier dies in combat in Sadr City.

09.40 Najaf. IRAQI GOVT SKEPTICAL ON SADR HOLDING UP HIS SIDE OF BARGAIN. The caretaker government accuses Moqtada Sadr of bluffing.

09.33 Doha. AL JAZEERA BROADCASTS VIDEO OF KIDNAPPED AMERICAN. A video of Micah Garen, held captive by the "Martyr's Brigade", is shown alive on Qatari TV.

09.32 Hilla. TWO POLISH TROOPS KILLED AND 5 WOUNDED. Two Polish soldiers were killed and five wounded when their vehicle went out of control after being attacked by insurgents.

09.30 Baghdad. SADR CITY OCCUPIED BY THE AMERICANS. Sadr city has been completely occupied by US troops in a massive asssault on Sadr militiamen.

09.00 Najaf. US MARINE KILLED IN NAJAF. A marine of the 1st Expeditionary Corps was killed in combat with Sadr militiamen.


08.16 Najaf. FIVE EXPLOSIONS. Blasts are heard near Shrine of Ali.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

18 August 2004 Events in Iraq.

This should win marts and hinds: US trains in Israel for urban combat in Iraqi cities and then shoots up a schoolbus. More US troops die in so-called "stabilization and security operations" and Iraqi Defense Minister huffs and puffs, says he will blow the shrine down.

22.55 Baghdad. 50 SHI'ITE GUERRILLAS KILLED BY US TROOPS. US Army spokesman says 50 Shi'a insurgents were killed in a suburb of Baghdad.

22.50 Najaf. THREAT TO USA: "PULL OUT OF NAJAF OR WE KILL A HOSTAGE". Al Jazeera reports that a previously unknown group threatens to kill US hostage Micah Garen if the US does not leave Najaf within 48 hours.

21.30 Baghdad. GOVERNMENT TO SHI'A MILITIA: "LAY DOWN YOU ARMS AND LEAVE". The Iraqi Defense Minister has ordered Moqtada al Sadr and his militia to lay down their arms immediately. Sadr and his militias have been granted amnesty if they end their armed insurgency in Najaf and several other Iraqi cities.


19.40 Abu Ghraib. US TROOPS KILL 2 PRISONERS AT ABU GHRAIB. Two prisoners in Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison were shot dead in "uncontrollable" prison disturbance.

19.15 Baghdad. PROVISIONAL NATIONAL ASSEMBLY VOTED IN. 1,300 delegates at the National Conference has elected an interim National Assembly which will end its term after the 2005 general elections.

18.35 Najaf. SADR SEEKS CEASEFIRE IN NAJAF. Radical Shi'ite leader Moqtada Sadr and his militias are ready to leave the Shrine of Ali if American forces pull away from sacred sites, says Ali al-Yassiri, Sadr's political liaison.

18.15 Najaf. FIGHTING CONTINUES. Despite a possible agreement with Moqtada al Sadr, gunfire is heard in the old city as US tanks patrol nearby.

18.10 Baghdad. US SOLDIER KILLED IN BAGHDAD. A US soldier was killed while on patrol in Baghdad.

16.53 Baghdad. SLATE OF CANDIDATES FOR AD INTERIM COUNCIL INVALID. Both slates of candidates for the Interim Legislative Council have been inclared invalid because of the insufficent number of women. Voting was to have taken place today.

16.49 Baghdad. TURKISH HOSTAGE RELEASED. Truck driver Mustafa Koksal has been released, says Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. Koksal and his coworker Durmus Kumdereli were kidnapped by armed men 100 km south of Mosul.

16.20 New York. FIANCEE OF KIDNAPPED AMERICAN JOURNALIST MAKES PLEA TO ITALIANS. The fiancee of US journalist Micah Garen appeals to Italians for assistance in gaining his release.

14.56 Najaf. SADR SPOKESMAN EXPRESSES SURPRISE AT DEFENSE MINISTRY'S ULTIMATUM We are surprised by the declarations and threats by the Defense Minister because we had given our complete consent to the initiative proposed by the delegaton from the Iraqi National Conference, says Sadr spokesman Ahmed Chaibani in an interview with Al Jazeera.

14.53 Najaf. DELEGATION CAUGHT IN CROSSFIRE The delegation of the National Conference charged with delivering a message to al-Sadr was constantly under fire as they approached the Shrine of Ali, says delegation member Rajah al Uday.

14.39 Baghdad. DEPUTY PREMIER, TERRORISTS POSE A THREAT TO THE ENTIRE WORLD. These terrorists, who don't necessarily agree among themselves as to their objectives, are a danger to Iraq and for all humanity. To fight them is a collective duty from which no one is released., says Iraqi Vice Premier Burhum Ahmad Salih.

14.38 Mosul. CASUALTIES RISE IN MOSUL TO AT LEAST SEVEN. At least seven people are dead following an explosion of a mortar round in a Mosul marketplace. Another 10 people were wounded.

14.25 Hilla. MORTAR ATTACK ON POLISH BASE, WOUNDED. At least two Polish soldiers were wounded during a 10-minute mortar attack on Camp Babylon, the main base of the Warsaw contingent in Iraq.

13.59 Najaf. SADR ACCEPTS DELEGATION REQUESTS. Moqtada Sadr has accepted all the requests put forward by the National Conference to end the Najaf crisis.

13.57 Rome. NEW MESSAGE TO ITALY, "ZERO HOUR APPROACHES." "The time has come, zero hour approaches. We have prepared your coffins: say goodbye to life." The message is signed, "The Black Banners of Ribat."

13.39 Najaf. AL SADR EXPRESSES SURPRISE AT ULTIMATUM. Moqtada al-Sadr says he is surprised by the ultimatum from the caretaker government's defense minister.

13.38 Moscow. RUSSIA, ALL POLITICAL FACTIONS MUST BE BROUGHT TOGETHER. Russian Foreign Minister Serghiei Lavrov says it's necessary to bring together all of Iraq's political factions, [including opponents of colonial rule--Nur], to consolidate the creation of new Iraqi institutions.

13.24 Washington. TROOPS TRAINED IN ISRAEL. The US has denied a report in the Israeli press that troops to be deployed in Iraq train in Modìin, Israel.

13.21 Mosul. MORTAR HITS MOSUL MARKET: DEAD AND WOUNDED. Five people were killed and 20 wounded when a mortar round exploded in a market square.

13.01 Hilla. POLISH BASE UNDER MORTAR ATTACK. Polish press agency, 'Pap', reports that Chief of Staff Zdzislaw Gnatowski,says a mortar attack is underway against the Polish base in Iraq.

12.52 Berlin. GERMANY, SCHROEDER WANTS TO EXTEND ROLE IN IRAQ. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says Germany would like to extend its role in Iraq beyond the training of police and military. Schroeder is also ready to cancel a significate portion of Iraq debt but has excluded the deployment of German troops to the country.

11.27 Baghdad. MORTAR FIRE HITS FOREIGN MINISTRY IN BAGHDAD. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says a mortar rounded landed on the roof of the ministry.

11.08 Washington. RESERVIST SUES RUMSFELD FOR STOP LOSS. A US Army reservist is suing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for violating the time limit provided for in his contract.

10.46 Najaf. ULTIMATUM TO SADR, SURRENDER NOW. Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan tellls al-Arabya TV that an all out attack on Najaf is in the final stages of preparation and that al Sadr has been ordered to give himself up.

10.40 Nassiriya. WOUNDED ITALIAN TRANSFERRED TO GERMANY. Carabiniere Vincenzo Cuccia is transferred to Germany for hospitalization.

10.38 Najaf. VIOLENT CLASHES BETWEEN SADR AND USA, CASUALTIES. Falah al-Muhana, director of Najaf's main hospital, says there are 29 among the dead and wounded.

09.54 Kut. FIVE STUDENTS KILLED BY US TROOPS IN AL KUT. Five students riding in a minibus were caught in a crossfire between US troops aiming at insurgents and were killed. Five others were wounded.

09.43 Jerusalem. US TROOPS TRAIN IN ISRAEL. US troops attend the 'Adam' training urban combat school,located near with town of Modìin in Israel.

09.36 Najaf. AL SADR REFUSES TO MEET DELEGATION: MISSION FAILS Shi'ite leader Moqtada Al Sadr says he was unable to reach the Shrine of Ali for talks.

09.33 Basrah. PIPELINE CLOSED, OIL PRODUCTION HALVED. South Oil Company has continued the shutdown of its southern oil pipeline.

09.26 Amara. PRO-SADR GROUP THREATENS PIPELINE SABOTAGE. A group linked to Shi'ite leader Moqtada Sadr says it set fire to an oil well in Amara and that it well set fire to others if US troops do not pull out of Najaf.

09.24 Najaf. RUMSFELD, ATTACK ON HOLY SHRINE UNLIKELY. Donald Rumsfeld has defined "improbable" any US attack on sacred shrines in Najaf.


09.22 Teheran. IRANIAN DELEGATION IN BAGHDAD. Teheran sends an official delegation to Baghdad to investigate the disappearance of an Iranian diplomat.

09.20 Najaf. CLASHES CONTINUE IN HOLY CITY Sporadic combat continues between US troops and al Sadr militiamen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

17 August 2004 Events in Iraq

Blair and Berlusconi have informed Bush he has to find a peaceful solution to Najaf crisis. Diary will be updated during the day.

16.45 Najaf. US LAUNCHES AIRSTRIKE ON CEMETERY. US aircraft has again bombed the Najaf cemetery.

22.59 Najaf. CONFERENCE DELEGATION LEAVES CITY. Delegation leaves Najaf without meeting with Moqtada al-Sadr.

22.00 Najaf. SADR REFUSES TO MEET WITH DELEGATION. Radical Shi'ite leader Moqtada Sadr refused to meetwith the delegaton, "because of the continued agression of the Americans".

21.55 Basrah BATTLE IN CITY, BRITISH SOLDIER DIES. One British soldier was killed and several others were wounded in Basrah.

19.52 Baghdad. US SOLDIER KILLED. US soldier killed in an RPG attack which destroyed three US armored vehicles yesterday.

19.10 Baghdad. NATIONAL CONFERENCE POSTPONES ELECTION OF ASSEMBLY DELEGATES. Election of delegates to interim national assembly postponed until tomorrow following an adjustment to the voting system.

19.05 Baghdad. ONE US SOLDIER KILLED, SEVERAL OTHERS WOUNDED. One US soldier was killed in Sadr City in clashes today.

19.00 Latifiya. BOMBING KILLS 5 CIVILIANS AND WOUNDS 7. A roadside bomb exploded in Latifiya, 50 km south of Baghdad, missing a US convoy and hitting a passenger car. Three other vehicles and several shops were destroyed.

18.55 Baghdad. US DRONE AIRCRAFT CRASHES. A Predator MQ-1 crashed not far from a US base.

18.45 Basrah BATTLE IN BASRAH BETWEEN BRITISH AND SHI'ITES. Battle starts after sunset as insurgents fire RPGs at British. A hotel was also damaged.

18.00 Basrah. INSURGENTS BATTLE FOREIGNERS. A group of Shi'ite insurgents fired on two vehicles transporting foreigners down a street in Basrah, damaging the cars and wounding the occupants. British troops come to their aid.

16.10 Vatican City. "AL SADR APPRECIATES OFFER OF PAPAL MEDIATION". Moqtad al-Sadr says he appreciates the Vatican's offer to mediate the Najaf crisis, says Monsignor Fernando Folli, the Vatican Nunzio in Baghdad.

15.25 Najaf. CONFERENCE DELEGATION ARRIVES IN NAJAF. Eight politicians and clerics were transported to Najaf by US helicopters for negotiations with al Sadr as travel by car was considered too dangerous.

15.10 Baghdad. 26 DEAD AND 104 WOUNDED DURING LAST 24 HOURS. Health Ministry official Saad al-Ameli says 19 people were killed and 59 wounded in Baghdad; 2 dead and 23 wounded in Ramadi, 5 dead and 8 wounded in Baquba, 8 wounded in Najaf e and 6 wounded in Hillah.

14.35 Geneva. UN SUSPENDS REPATRIATION OF IRAQI REFUGEES. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Unhcr) announced today in Geneva the "temporary suspension" of voluntary repatriation of Iraqi refugees in Iran due to instability in Iraq. Beginning in May 2003, the UN has facilitated the repatriation of 13 thousand Iraqi refugees from Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.

14.05 Najaf. CONFERENCE DELEGATION LEAVES FOR NAJAF. The delegation will meet Moqtada Sadr for talks.

13.25 Vatican City. "WE ARE AVAILABLE TO MEDIATE NAJAF CRISIS". Vatican says it would like to mediate an end to the Najaf crisis, says Vatican Deputy Press Secretary, Fr. Ciro Benedettini.

13.00 Karbala. JORDANIAN HOSTAGE RELEASED, TWO KIDNAPPERS ARRESTED. Samer Tumallah Hussein, an automobile dealer, was freed east of Karbala during a raid by Iraqi police. Two kidnappers were arrested whilte three others fled.

12.42 Baghdad. ABDUCTED LEBANESE SHOWN ON TV. Lebanese truck driver Mohamad Raad was abducted yesterday. His kidnappers says he will be executed within 72 hours unless his employer abandons Iraq.

12.40 Nassiriya. BERLUSCONI SAYS ATTACK WAS UNFAIR AND UNGRATEFUL. Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, who is hosting Tony Blair on his palatial estate in Sardinia, comments on this morning's incident.

12.30 Nassiriya. NAMES OF WOUNDED CARABINIERE RELEASED. Luigi Massari of Bari, Bruno Azzuni of Bolzano, and Vincenzo Cuccia of Collesano (Palermo) were wounded and transported by helicopter to Kuwait City.

12.08 Karbala JORDANIAN HOSTAGE RELEASED. Al Jazeera reports hostage was freed by police in Karbala, 110 km west of Baghdad.

11.45 Baghdad. BLAST KILLS 7 AND WOUNDS 42. At least 7 people, including two children were killed and another 42 injured in this morning's attack.

11.10 Najaf. REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER INJURED. An Iraqi working for Reuters was wounded during violent combat between US troops using tanks and armored vehicles and Shi'ite militia. He has been hospitalized at the US base.

10.55 Rome. MARTINO, SOLIDARITY WITH GOVERNMENT. Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino expresses solidarity with Commanding General Luciano Gottardo of the Carabiniere after incident in Nassiriya.

10.40 Baghdad. BLAST CAUSED BY MORTAR FIRE. A mortar round hit a police station killing four people and wounding 24.

10.10 Baghdad. AT LEAST THREE DEAD. Blast occurs in busy commercial street.

09.55 Baghdad. THREAT OF AMBUSH DELAYS DELEGATION. Fawzi Hamza, an independent Iraqi politician says threats have delayed trip to Najaf.

09.45 Baquba. THREE SISTERS KILLED IN THEIR HOME. Rebel mortar fire in Baquba misses Governor's Palace and lands on home.

09.30 Baghdad. POWERFUL BLAST HEARD IN CAPITAL. Column of smoke is seen rising from Rashid Street on the east bank of the Tigris.

08.15 Najaf. COMBAT RESUMES. Police Chief Ghaleb al-Jazairi threatens assault on Shrine of Imam Ali.


07.30 Nassiriya. THREE CARABINIERI WOUNDED. Three Italian Carabinieri were wounded in Nassiriya after an attack on their patrol.

Monday, August 16, 2004

16 August 2004 Events in Iraq

22.53 Doha. IRAQI INTELLIGENCE OFFICER KIDNAPPED. Secret agent Osama Abdel Jabbar has been kidnapped by a group of insurgents, says al-Jazeera.

22.22 Doha. IRAQI INTELLIGENCE OFFICER KIDNAPPED. Al Jazeera broadcasts video of hostage with captors, the Brigade for the Defense of Holy Shrines.

22.21 New York. PLEA FOR HOSTAGE FROM FINANCEE. I ask the kidnappers of Micah Garen, who only performed his work as an independent journalist in order to defend Iraq archeological heritage, says financee Helene Carleton.

21.00 Baghdad. POLICE RELEASE ARAB JOURNALIST, THREATEN OTHERS WITH ARREST. Iraqi police freed al-Arabiya reporter Ahmed al-Saleh.

20.41 Rome. ITALIAN GOVERNMENT SUMMONED TO REPORT TO PARLIAMENT The opposition whip of the Italian lower house, Luciano Violante, has requested the Speaker, Pier Ferdinando Casini, "to examine the possibility of having the government report on the situation in Iraq and to start up an Italian initiative within the European Union to mediate the tragic situation in Iraq".

20.25 Samarra. NATIONAL GUARD COMMANDER ASSASSINATED. The Samarra commander of the Iraqi National Guard, Ihsan al-Saji, was murdered by assassins together with four body guards.

20.13 Baghdad. KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST WAS IN BAGHDAD ON 12 AUGUST. American journalist Micah Garen was in Baghdad on 12 August and met with Italian television journalist Pino Scaccia. Scaccia said, He came around on Thursday afternoon with his interpreter and offered me some photos. He didn't want to leave me his cellphone number or his e-mail, but I gave him my contact information. We agreed to meet again in a couple of hours but I never heard from him again.

20.08 Dili. CARDINAL BELO: DIPLOMACY IS NOT ENOUGH, THE CHURCH MUST DO MORE. Cardinal Carlo Belo, 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner and East Timor independence activist, urges church to do more to resolve the Najaf crisis.

19.40 Najaf. CONFERENCE DELEGATION POSTPONES VISIT. The dispatch of a 50-person delegation to Najaf is postponed until tomorrow. At 8:00 pm today local time, explosions and machine gun fire was heard in the city center.

19.20 Baghdad. ONE SYRIAN AND TWO LEBANESE HOSTAGES RELEASED. Three truckdrivers, Osama Issa, Taha al-Jundi and Khaldun Osman, were released. They had been kidnapped in early August in west Baghdad.

19.05 Baghdad. SHI'ITE GUERRILLA DESTROYS US TANK IN SADR CITY. Moqtada al-Sadr's militiamen took out a US tank with a direct RPG hit, setting it on fire.

18.25 Teheran. IRANIAN GOVERNMENT WARNS BAGHDAD OVER DIPLOMAT. Tension grows between Iran and Iraq following the disappearance of an Iranian diplomat.

18.00 Mosul. TWO TURKISH TRUCKDRIVERS KIDNAPPED SOUTH OF MOSUL. Two Turkish truck drivers were kidnapped while four others escaped as they left a restaurant.

17.50 Baghdad. INTERIOR MINISTER WANTS PATROLS FOR FRONTIER WITH IRAN. 600 border agents have been assigned to the Iranian border. Defense Minisgter Hazim al-Shaalan says Iran is the greatest enemy of Iraq, and accuses Teheran of interference and infiltration of Iraqi institutions.


16.55 Najaf. TWO THOUSAND PROTESTERS FORM HUMAN SHIELD FOR NAJAF MOSQUE. Two thousand people have formed a human shield around the Imam Alì Moque in Najaf.

15.45 Najaf. SHI'ITE MILITIA SABOTAGES OILWELL. The well, set afire yesterday, is near Amara.

15.40 Nassiriya. ITALIAN COMMAND, GAREN WAS INFORMED OF RISKS He was with us until 11 August, says Capt. Ettore Sarli - then he handed back his camp ID card. He travelled between Baghdad and Nassiriya...we told him more than once not to travel without an escort. When asked about the ambulance incident Capt. Sarli said there was no rancor toward Garen.

15.20 Baquba. SIBLINGS KILLED BY REBEL ARTILLERY. A six year-old boy and girl were killed this morning in Baquba by a mortar shell intended for the US base. Four other family members were wounded.

15.10 Nassiriya. ITALIAN COMMAND, WE DID NOT ASK GAREN TO LEAVE. American Micah Garen was not asked to leave Camp Mittica, the Italian base where Garen has been living since the end of June. The Director of the Department of City Archeology, Abdel Amir al Hamdani, told Agence France Presse that the Italian military asked him to leave after he took a photo of an ambulance that had been machine-gunned by the Italians, killing three people.

14.45 Fallujah. ONE IRAQI KILLED AND SEVENTEEN WOUNDED. Hospital sources say US tank cannon killed one Iraqi and wounded17 others.

14.30 Suwayrah. FIVE UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS KILLED. Five Ukrainians were killed near As Suwayrah, in the central Iraqi province of Wasit.

12.50 Stockholm. SADDAM'S COUSINS GRANTED ASYLUM IN SWEDEN. Two of Saddam's cousins sought for capture by US troops in Iraq have been granted asylum in Sweden.

11.35 Najaf. FRESH CLASHES. Sporadic clashes are occuring in Najaf between Moqtada Al Sadr's militia and US troops.

11.05 Najaf. SADR READY FOR TALKS. Radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr is ready for negotiations, says spokesman Mohammad al Shibani.

11.00 Baghdad. CONFERENCE TO SEND DELEGATION FOR TALKS WITH SADR. The national Iraqi conference which opened yesterday in Baghdad will send a deletation to Najaf for talks with Sadr. "We reject the presence of troops of any kind and we want to see the end of this military presence which threatens the state and creates a state within a state.", says Shi'ite scholar Hussein al-Sadr.

10.45 Latifiya. POLICE STATION ATTACKED: TWO KILLED. Armed militants attack a police station in Latifiya, 50 km south of Baghdad. Two militants were killed and four police wounded. The entrance to the structure was demolished as well as a police car.

10.32 Baghdad. 19 IRAQIS DIE IN 24 HOURS. Iraqi Health Ministry official Saad al Ameli says 19 Iraqis have been killed and another 119 wounded in the last 24 hours.

10.30 Vatican City. VATICAN OFFERS MEDIATION IN NAJAF. Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Sodano says the Pope is willing to sponsor negotiations.

09,40 Najaf. THREE US TROOPS KILLED. Three Marines were killed yesterday in Najaf.

09,20 Nassiriya. KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST IS AN AMERICAN. Nassiriya's Vice Governor, Adnan al-Sharifi, has confirmed that kidnapped journalist Micah Garen, founder of Four Corners Media, was kidnapped in Nassiriya.

08,30 Nassiriya. FRENCH JOURNALIST KIDNAPPED. Al Jazeera says a French journalist was kidnapped without further details. There is no confirmation.

07,15 Baghdad. EXPLOSIONS ROCK CITY. Several explosions were heard this morning in Baghdad near the Green Zone.

05.50 Moscow. RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER PROPOSES INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE. Defense Minister Serghiei Ivanov has again put forward the idea for an international conference on Iraq saying that neighboring Arab countries and Iraqi insurgents should participate in order to end the violence.

05.06 Paris. REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS PROTESTS EXPULSION OF JOURNALISTS FROM NAJAF. Reporters Without Borders protests the press blackout in Najaf following the expulsion of newspaper and television reporters from the city by Iraqi police.