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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, April 05, 2005

5 April 2005 Events in Iraq

Amman. King of Jordan shuffles cabinet. According sources close to the palace, King Abdullah was unhappy with the way in which the government handled the recent political crisis with Iraq. Amman was accused by Baghdad of not doing enough to prevent Jordanian terrorists from entering Iraq which resulted in the recall of the Jordanian Ambassador on 22 March. The crisis was provoked by the alleged involvement of a Jordanian in a bloody attack in Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, on 28 February. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP on 22 March that Iraqis were very offended by the cavalier manner in which Jordan met their concerns over the incident.

Mosul. 7 rebels killed by US troops. Two rebels were killed as their prepared a bomb in northeast Mosul. Another was killed in the west part of town while he parked a booby-trapped car. Four others were killed at a checkpoint.

Baghdad. A police officer was wounded in a shootout during a police raid on a suspected rebel hideout in north Baghdad. Meanwhile, a Sunni dignitary was shot dead by unknown assailants.

Baghdad. Five people killed in a suicide carbomb in east Baghdad.

Hilla. A city councilman was shot dead by unknown assailants.

Basrah. One person killed and two wounded by a bomb.

Jourf al-Sahar. Police discover mass grave containing the bodies of 10 decapitated Iraqi soldiers which showed signs of torture.

Riyadh. At least nine militants are reported to have died in clashes with the Saudi security forces. At least 10 militants are still said to be holding out against security forces in the northern town of al-Ras.Two top fugitives - Abdulkarim al-Mejjati and Saud Homoud al-Oteibi - are reportedly among the dead. More than 50 Saudi officers have been injured, though none have died, officials have said.

23:49 Washington. New US Ambassador to Iraq. Zalmay Khalilzad, a protegé of Republican hawks, will be the next US Ambassador to Baghdad. Khalilzad was born on Afghanistan in 1951 and worked in the US State Department under Ronald Reagan and in the DoD under Bush Senior. In Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad was more than a simple ambassador and exerted his influnce on President Hamid Karzaï. This diplomat is often blunt. Last year he accused Pervez Muscharraf of not doing enough to find Bin Laden. Recently, Khalilzan told a press conference that Iranian officials were "maintainers of barbarity." A native of Mazar-i Sharif and a Pashtoon, Khalilzad studied at the American University of Beirut in the '70s and earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1979. In the 80-'s "Zal" taught at Columbia University and became a citizen in 1984 when he entered the State Department. Later he entered the Pentagon as deputy to Paul Wolfowitz. During the Clinton years, he worked for Unocal where he brokered a colossal deal for the construction of an oil pipeline from Turkenistan to the Indian Ocean.

23:26 Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met with a delegation of Gaza Strip settlers to head off extremists who are fanatically opposed to the July pullout. George W. Bush warned the Sharon government to freeze plans for more colonies on the West Bank. Israeli officials refused comment on Bush's statement but Israeli radio, citing officials who met recently in Washington with Condoleezza Rice, plans for expanding the Maalé Adoumim settlement will not "cast a shadow" over the Sharon-Bush summit. Sharon met with residents of Goush Katif, a settlement in the south of the Gaza Strip. Discussions were tense and the settlers expressed their disappointment at government plans to relocate them to Nitzanim, south of Tel-Aviv. Other residents, such as Avi Farhan of the Alei Sinaï settlement, claim the dissident settlers will recruit tens of thousands of supporters to resist the evacuation. Meanwhile, to encourage settlers to leave, Arial Sharon has increased the family indemnity to as much as half a million dollars.

23:21. Bucharest. Romanian President denies hostage release. Presidential spokesperson Adriana Saftoiu says Romania is confronted by a crisis of this kind for the first time and this is why the media tends to accept rumors for truth. Realitatea TV reported on Tuesday that its sources in Baghdad had informed the network that the hostages were "safe and sound" and "in the hands of the coalition."

23:18 Baghdad. Cameraman wounded by US troops. An Iraqi cameraman for CBS News was wounded by gunfire from US troops of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, in Mosul when they mistook his camera for an AK-47.

23:06 Washington. George W. Bush says the recent rebel raid on Abu Ghraib prison is proof that al Qaeda is still dangerous. These assassins don't believe in democracy. They believe in a society in which people won't have freedom to practise their religion or to speak out in public. Abu Ghraib currently holds 3,440 detainees. Thousands of others are held by Iraqi police in unknown locations across Iraq.

23:02 Washington. Bush warns Israel to freeze all settlement activity on the West Bank. Our position is clear. The Road Map is important and the Road Map calls for ending settlement expansion. Bush will receive Sharon on 11 April at his ranch in Crawford. Meanwhile, Condoleezza Rice met with Sharon advisor Dov Weisglass on Monday. Shimon Peres is also to go to Washington for talks.

22:54 Baladrouz. 17 rebels, 2 US soldiers and an Iraqi soldier were killed in action in Baladrouz. Eleven Iraqi soldiers were wounded. US air support was requested for the operation which stated Monday afternoon and concluded Tuesday morning.

21:14 Bucharest. Romanian authorities have arrested businessman Omar Hayssam. Hayssam financed the trip to Iraq by three Romanian reporters, who are now held hostage. The Romanian Senate President Nicolae Vacaroiu says the kidnappers were likely motivated by greed rather than by politics.

21:09 Baghdad. Romanian journalists freed. Three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq on 28 March have been freed.

20:30 Baghdad. Agreement on government posts. The new Iraqi President will be Jalal Talabani. His Sunni VP will be outgoing President Ghazi al-Yawar and the Shi'a VP will be outgoing Finance Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.

19:17 Diyala. Two US soldiers killed

09:59 Al Anbar Province. A US Marine was killed in an explosion.

08:51 Baghdad. Jalal Mohammad Salah, an Interior Ministry general, and his bodyguards were kidnapped by rebels. Rebels forced him out of his car in the western part of the capital.

08:14 Baghdad. Carbombing at airport checkpoint. A car bomb went off at an an Iraqi Army airport checkpoint causing numerous deaths. The explosion was heard south of the capital and shook building in the vicinity of the airport. Meanwhile a roadside bomb detonated in the southern Doura quarter as a US military convoy passed by and destroyed at least four US vehicles.

08:00 Camp Bucca. The Red Cross will insist on an US Army investigation into a prison riot on Friday. "We are going to demand that the US Army open an investigation into last Friday's events in which 14 people were slightly injured, says Rana Sidani, Red Cross Spokesperson in Amman. The US Army, after originally denying the incident, explained that detainees were protesting the transfer of unruly inmates to another part of the prison. Prisoners began throwing rocks at prison guards and set fire to tents to protest the transfer. 6,054 Iraqi prisoners are held in Camp Bucca, where four detainees were killed in a riot on 31 January.

00:17 Rome. Sgrena. Inquest opened into hindering of investigation. The Rome Public Prosecutors office is investigating attempts at hindering the investigation into the kidnapping of reporter Giuliana Sgrena and the death of Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari. The antiterrorism task force, coordinated by PM Franco Ionta, deposed an information technology expert in seeking to establish that Italian nationals were involved in the kidnapping and ransom of the journalist by the Iraqi resistance.


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