Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Friday, April 22, 2005

22 April 2005 Events in Iraq

Baghdad. Friday prayers were marred by the bombing of a Shi'ite mosque in the north of the capital and an accusation by Sheikh Hareth al-Obeidi, the imam of the Umm al-Qura mosque--the headquarters of the Committee of Iraqi Ulema--that the Sunni community is the victim of an eradication campaign. Meanwhile, in the Shaab district of north Baghdad, the imam of the Our mosque said that Iraq's Sunnis were the victims of an assassination campaign. 46 Sunni notables have been assassinated in the last few months.

Karbalā’. Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al-Omeidi, a cleric close to Ayatollah Ali Sistani, rebuffed accusations that the UIA was the responsible party for the delay in forming a goverment. Other parties are placing obstacles in the way as soon as discussions begin to make progress.

Washington. US doubts exoneration of Annan by Paul Volcker. Mark Lagon, a US State Dept. Undersecretary, says that Annan has exaggerated his innocence in the Oil for Food scandal.

Baghdad. Foreign security firms in Iraq employ close to 50,000 foreigners and Iraqis, attracted by extremely high-paying salaries. There are approximately 60 foreign security firms in Iraq. Meanwhile, six American security contractors and two Fijian security guards died in yesterday's downing of a Bulgarian helicopter.

Paris. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier says the French goverment is still working for the release of French reporter Florence Aubenas and her guide, Hussein Hanoun, kidnapped 5 January. France also seeks information on the disappearance of French camerman Nérac.

Paris. The newspaper Libération, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee of Support plan a campaign every 10 days in support of the release of Aubenas and Hanoun. TF1, LCI and Radio-France have agreed air celebrity spots pleading for their release. Folamour [Heh, this means, "Strangelove"--Nur] Production Company and the Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. allied to air publicity spots featuring Arab artists and sports stars on behalf of hostages Aubenas and Hanoun eight times a day at prime time for two weeks, from April 5th to the 21st.

An Najaf. A Shi'ite dignitary congratulates Pope Benedict XVI on his election. During Friday prayers, Sheikh Sadreddin al-Kubbanji made three requests of the new pontiff: 1) To open up to the people and not to close himself in behind the walls of the Vatican; 2) to open up to other religions and to acknowledge their rightful existence and 3) to use his influence on the international political scene. The Shi'ite community was the first Muslim community to congratulate the Pope.

Baghdad. Two Iraqi soldiers killed by bomb.

Baghdad. An advisor to the Defense Ministry, General Sami Anbaki, escaped an assassination attempt. Armed gunmen opened fire on his vehicle as it came to a stop in the Doura district of west Baghdad. Retired General Tarek Abed Lifta, travelling with Anbaki, was wounded in the foot and stomach. A bystander and two bodyguards were also wounded

Baghdad. Iraqi President Talabani says he is frustrated by the inability to form a new government due to disputes over the distribution of ministerial portfolios. Talabani will meet with the New National Front, a Sunni movement, in an attempt to break the Sunni boycott of the government. Meanwhile, outgoing Premier Iyad Allawi added to the confusion by insisting that his party, The Iraqi List, will not join the goverment unless it receives the Vice Premiership and four out of the following ministerial portfolios: Defense, Interior, Trade, Oil, Transporation, Agriculture, Labor, Social Affairs or Urban Affairs.

Şadr al Yūsufīyah. Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and four others wounded by a roadside bomb.

Al Başrah. Four border patrolmen, including an officer, were wounded by a roadside bomb.

Baghdad. Iraqi security forces say a Saudi national and al Qaeda suspect was killed and a weapons cache uncovered.

Baghdad. One Saudi national was sentenced to 10 years in prison for illegal entry into Iraq and an Iranian national to six years for his links to the insurgency.

Sarajevo. Bosnia to deploy an ethnically mixed (Muslims, Serbs and Croats) demining squad to Iraq in June.

23:59 Washington. US killed in action reaches 1,564.

22:46 Doha. A video showing three kidnapped Romanian journalists was aired by al-Jazeera, as "proof that they are alive and well." A 4-day ultimatum by the kidnappers was issued to the Romanian government.

19:49 Strasbourg. The EU is expected to finalize its proposal for an international conference on Iraq at a meeting on Monday in Luxemburg. Luxemburg's Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, hopes the conference will take place in early June.

19:47 Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirms the sale of short-range missiles to Syria on eve of his visit to Israel.

19:41 Mosul. A prison warden was shot dead by armed gunmen. Colonel Khaled Najm Allah, warden of the Bidouch Prison housing common criminals, was shot in the head and chest behind the wheel of his vehicle in theYarmuk District of west Mosul. His wife and children were wounded in the attack. Meanwhile, five Iraqi soldiers were wounded by a roadside bomb near the city.

16:21 Washington Bush nominates Peter Pace, Marine Commandant-General, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

19:01 New York. The AIEA says Iran is in complaince with international safety standards in the Russian-assisted construction of a nuclear power station in Bouchehr in the south of the country.

15:51 Ar Ramādi. US forces shot dead a women in an explosive-laden car. Her vehicle had been stopped following a prior bombing, which wounded a US soldier.

15:39 Baghdad. 11 are dead in an explosion inside the Shi'ite al-Subeih Mosque in east Baghdad. The attack took place during a prayer period in the New Baghdad district in the east of the capital, killing eleven worshipers and wounding 26. The mosque and two adjacent residences were damaged. A suicide bomber driving a white BMW rammed the structure. No organization has taken credit for the bombing.

08:15 Tall Afar. Two US soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb targeting their convoy.

07:41 Bayjī. Police say they have discovered the bodies of 19 Iraqi soldiers abandoned in the desert between Asainiya and Bayjī. All had been shot in the head and stomach. Their mini-bus had been hijacked three or four days ago. [What is up with the number 19? On 17 April, the bodies of 19 unidentified men were found floating in the Tigris near Al ‘Azīzīyah. Then on 20 April, the corpses of 19 soldiers were found outside a soccer stadum in Hadīthah. Now this? This is hard to believe--a moveable mass slaying of exactly 19 men? Are the same 19 bodies recycled? And consider this. What's 19+19+19? 57. This is the number of bodies that are said to be found in the Tigris after the alleged Al Madā’’in hostage massacre. Something is very fishy here.--Nur]

07:08 Ar Ramādi. Two marines killed by a roadside bomb.


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