Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Monday, April 18, 2005

18 April 2005 Events in Iraq

Ahvaz. Three people are dead and 200 arrested after clashes between the Arab majority in Iran's Khuzistan Province which authorities have blamed on subterfuge by al-Jazeeza rather than an ethnic dispute in this petroleum-rich province bordering on the Iraqi frontier. Information Minister Ali Yunessi says there were several "agitators" among the persons arrested, "linked to subversive groups and television networks." Riots broke out Friday night between security forces and the Arab residents of Ahvaz, the provincial seat. Yesterday minor disturbances were reported in Mah-Shahr. Demonstrators attacked and burned down public buildings during the riots; the story was broken by Qatari satellite TV al-Jazeera. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Jahanbakhsh Khanjani directly accused al-Jazeera of inciting the riots. Provincial MPs have demanded the expulsion of the network. State Iranian TV says al-Jazeera quoted the Arab Popular and Democratic Front of Ahvaz headquartered in London in its reporting. A Front representative said a purportedly official communication signed by ex-Vice President Mohammad-Ali Abtahi was in circulation in the province calling for the ethnic cleansing of Arabs. The Front says Arabs were demonstrating peacefully when authorities decided to use force against them. During the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein vowed to "liberate" Khuzistan Province, which he referred to as "Arabstan."

Manila. The government of the Philippines has instructed its nationals to leave Iraq following the death of a Philippino who worked at a US military base in Baghdad.

Basrah. Two police killed and eleven wounded when a roadside bomb struck their bus.

Baghdad. The manager of a travel agency was shot dead as he was driving through the Ghazaliyah district in west Baghdad.

Baïji. A policeman was killed by a homemade bomb

Chorgat. An Iraqi interpreter for the US military and a member of the Iraqi security forces were killed by a mortar round which fell on an Iraqi army position.

Dhoulouiyah. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and four wounded by a mortar round which fell on their position.

Tuz. An Iraqi soldier was killed and another wounded by light arms fire.

Kirkūk. The body of a young Iraqi man was found riddled with bullets.

Kuwait City. A US soldier dies in a training exercise.

Mosul. General Yunès Mohammed Sulaiman, the spokesman for the Mosul police, was assassinated on Sunday.

Baghdad. The Iraqi Interior Minister says he mistook the identity of a recently assassinated security official. General Adnan Midhish Kharagoli, a Defense Ministry advisor, was the victim, not General Adnan Thabet as previously announced.

21:04 Al Madā’’in. The report of Shi'ite hostages held by rebel Sunnis in the town of al-Madā’’in south of Baghdad illustrated the climate of growing mistrust between Iraq's two main religious communities. Iraqi forces took control of al-Madā’’in without finding any trace of hostages. Residents blamed "foreign elements" of having fomented trouble in the town. An hooded Iraqi commando team of 1,500 entered the town on Monday backed up by US Apache combat helicopters which prompted terrified residents to lock themselves indoors. The ruins of the Mesopotamian city of Ctesiphon (est. 144 BC) are within al-Madā’’in.

21:01 Paris. France extends condolences to the family of Lebanese MP Bassel Fleyhan, who died due to complications from severe burns suffered in the carbomb which killed former PM Rafik Hariri in Beirut on February 14. Fleyhan died in the Percy Military Hospital outside Paris.

20:40 Paris. Reporters Without Frontiers expresses indignation at the assassination of Kurdish television journalist Shamal Abdallah Assad in Kirkuk. According to RWF, Assad, assassinated at an auto dealership, was the third Kurdish journalist killed in two days.

20:49 Jerusalem. Israel has issued a call for bids for the construction of 50 units in the West Bank settlement of Elkana to the irritation of Washington. Meanwhile, Ariel Sharon has postponed the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip by three weeks saying the original date of 20 July was the commemoration of the destruction of the first and second Jewish temples in Jerusalem. [Oh? So why did he pick 20 July in the first place? Fraud!--Nur]


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