7 April Events in Iraq (and elsewhere)
Tel Afar. 12 Iraqi civilians were killed in a suicide carbombing targeting a US military convoy.
Tikrit. Four police investigating an ambandoned car were wounded when it exploded.
Baghdad. Insurgents posing as police blew up the dome of a Shi'ite mosque from the inside in Baghdad.
Baghdad. Shi'ite MPs have accused the government of outgoing Premier Iyad Allawi of corruption and of having reintroduced Ba'athists into the Defense and Interior ministries. Immediately following the swearing in of Mr. Talabani as President, the Assembly debated a motion introduced by the UIA party leadership, demanding an investigation into various appointments by Mr. Allawi in the aftermath of the 30 January elections. A parliamentary commission has been formed to look into the allegations and report back to the Assembly within a week's time. A UIA MP, Khodeir Abbas, says there have been "very serious violations" and illegal appointments of members of the Firqa (former Ba'ath Party officials). Other MPs from the UIA proposed that all appointments after 30 January be nullified, particularly within the Defense and Interior ministries. Incensed by the accusations, Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan reacted by demanding that the Shi'ite MPs name a single member of the Firqa whom he might have appointed. However, Shaalan admitted to making several appointments "at the request of the Coalition" in 2004. Kurdish Vice Premier Barham Saleh objected to the motion, saying the Assembly should not start out by hurling grave accusations and putting the outgoing government on trial. To cool the debate, Assembly Speaker Hajem al-Hassani proposed sending an informal note to outgoing Premier Allawi warning him to refrain from making further appointments until the new Cabinet was appointed. But this proposal was shot down by the powerful head of the UIA, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, who reminded the Speaker to refrain from participation in the debate while he was presiding the session. The debate highlighted the divisions between Mr. Allawi's conciliatory approach and that of the UIA, which intends to purge the government of Baathist elements. From a dispatch by Sam Dagher, AFP.
Damascus. Thirteen Syrians, including eleven Kurds, died while held in Syrian prisons in 2004. A report issued by the Syrian Human Rights Association, said five Kurds died under torture following disturbances in Qamechli in northeastern Syria. Six other Kurds died in mysterious circumstances while in detention. Two Syrians died in Interior Ministry criminal detention centers.
Cairo. At least two tourists, a Frenchwoman and an American, were killed in a bombing which wounded 18 others in a tourist area of Cairo. The wounded include 4 French, 3 Americans, 1 Italian, 1 Turk and nine Egyptians. Witnesses say at least two Egyptians were also killed, including the daughter of a merchant in Ghoar al-Kaïd Street. Their dismembered bodies have not yet been identified. The bomb was caused by a booby-trapped motorbike parked in front of a perfume shop in Ghoar al-Kaïd Street, near the Khan al-Khalili Souk in an old Muslim quarter of Cairo. The explosion occurred at 17:45 near al-Azhar University, the oldest Islamic university in the world. The wounded were taken to al-Hussein Hospital, where the Frenchwoman was died from her injuries. Three members of the same family were among the wounded. The Quai d'Orsay confirms the wounded of three French nationals. Police says a suspect with burns on his face attempted to flee the scene. Following the explosion, tourists fled the area and shopowners closed their establishments. The detonation left a crater three feet deep and six feet wide.
23:53 Rome: Berlusconi, "Bush agrees to troop pullout" Silvio Berlsconi says he spoke today with President George W. Bush about withdrawal of the Italian contingent from Iraq. Bush is in complete agreement with us because even the United States wished to reduce its contingent as Iraqi security forces grow in strength. I'm keeping with what I said...and I said I'd pull them out in September and I mean it.
21:00 Samarra. Rebel raid kills four. Three Iraqi soldiers and one civilian were wounded in a rebel raid in Samarra.
16:19 Baghdad.Shi'ite Ibrahim Al-Jaafari announces his appointment as Prime Minister by Jalal Talabani. Al-Jaafari took his oath of office by swearing on the Koran: I swear by Allah the most powerful that I shall fulfill my duty and my lawful responsibilities to the best of my ability and to preserve the independence of Iraq, its people, its skies and its territory and its democratic system. Congratulations were received from French President Jacques Chirac, Australian Premier John Howard and Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. Moscow believes the the appointment is positive but has concerns about the future. Meanwhile, Iyad Allawi has not yet submitted his official resignation.
16:12 Ramadi. 11 Civilians killed. The bodies of 11 Iraqis who worked at a nearby American military base were found dead.