February 16 Events in Iraq
Baghdad. Supporter of Iyad Allawi lashes out at PM hopeful Ibrahim Jaafari. Imad Shabib of Iraqi National Accord lashes out at al-Dawa Party's Ibrahim Jaafari: He should act like an Iraqi. He should be loyal to Iraq and not to some other country! Shabib also lashed out at Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Religion is a very complicated matter in Iraq. We have both Sunni and Shi'a in the same tribe, in the same clan. If we head in this direction, we shall all be divided. The Prime Minister does not have to be a Sunni or a Shi'a. He should be the best leader for Iraq. Dr Jaafari is our friend but I say this to al-Da'wa and the SCIRI: Be vigilant! Shabib also expressed sour grapes. The slate of Mr Allawi, a secular Shi'ite, made it into third place. We lost because His Eminence Sistani had a major impact on the vote. Three million Shi'ite voters turned out because of him alone, and the [election] results do not correspond to reality.
Mosul. Four US soldiers and one Iraqi policeman were wounded in two separate insurgent raids in Mosul.
Baghdad. Guards kill bomber wearning suicide vest attempting to enter the Jaafar al-Sadek mosque in Baghdad.
Baghdad. Four oil pipelines sabotaged.Four oil pipelines supplying the Baïji and Doura refineries north of Baghdad were sabotaged. Up to $8 billion has been lost to sabotage following the March 2003 invasion, says the Iraqi Petroleum Ministery.
Washington. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says Iraq will have 270,000 professional soldiers by mid-2006. He refused to estimate the growth of the insurgency.
Karbala. Feast of Ashura. In an intense security climate, even children have been forbidden to ride bicycles in Karbala. February 19 will be the anniversary of the martyrdom of Hussein at the hands of Ummayid Caliph Yazid. At the tombs of Imams Hussein and Hassan thousands of faithful have left prayer cards, as well as posters of Gandhi and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeyni.
20:52 Paris. Director of Libération despairs of finding Florence Aubenas, and her Iraqi interpreter, Hussein Hanoun, alive.
20:42 Paris. French Goverment believes kidnapped reporter Florence Aubenas and her interpreter, Hussein Hanoun, are still alive
20:02 Baghdad. Video of hostage Giuliana Sgrena delivered anonymously to Associated Press.
19:57 Balad. Bodies of eight foreigners discovered north of Baghdad. Balad hospital says deaths are three days old. Victims had their hands bound behind their back and were were wearing civilian clothes. One had a slashed throat.
19:35 Rome. Berlusconi optimistic on release of kidnapped Italian reporter Giuliana Sgrena.
18:35 Baghdad. Two Lebanese hostages released. Brothers Ghazi and Hussein Haider have been released. They were kidnapped on 29 December
18:26 Baghdad. Twenty-nine Iraqis killed over last 24 hours. Twenty-nine Iraqis included three police and a guard for a petroleum installation have been killed since last night.
18:16 Al Anbar. Four US soldiers killed, three accidentally and one in a raid by insurgents.
18:08 Rome. Berlusconi happy that Sgrena is still alive.
18:01 Rome. Italian Senate approves financing for Iraq mission. Vote was 141 to 113 .
17:43 Baghdad. Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafur Samarrai of the Committee of Iraqi Ulema calls for release of Giuliana Sgrena.
17:24 Rome. Parents of Sgrena say they see daughter cry for the first time on video released by kidnappers.
16:53 Baghdad. Crowd lynches suspected suicide bombing. Residents of the Bayaa quarter of Baghdad lynch suspected suicide bomber.
16:05 Rome. Opposition leader Prodi asked for united effort to free Giuliana Sgrena.
15:52 Rome. Italian Intelligence Service, SISMI, says hostage video is a positive sign [It wasn't such a positive sign last August--Nur].
15:08 Rome. Italian Minister of Environment Matteoli says "We are politicians. We don't get emotional! [That's news to me.--Nur] Matteoti says kidnapping of reporter Giuliana Sgrena is the result of "years of ditatorship".
12:50 Rome. Franco Sgrena. "This will not end well." Father of Giuliana Sgrena expresses fear for fate of daughter.
12:05 Rome. Video of hostage Giuliana Sgrena broadcast by RAI-3.