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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

26 May 2005 Events in Iraq

Cairo. Referendun ratified by the populace with 86.86% "Yes" and 53.46 voter turnout. Voter turnout was very light in Cairo where one-quarter of all Egyptians live. The newspaper Al-Wafd (center right), sent two of its editors out to vote, which they did: one in seven polling stations and the other in six with the same voting card. In the polling stations visited by AFP reporters, lines of voters were non-existent and unused ballots were piled high on tables. The referendum took place in an tense atmosphere in Cairo as police prevented a Kefaya demonstration with billyclubs. NPD thugs intervened to beat up activists urging a "No" vote and to trample their signs and banners. Meanwhile, the opposition estimates that there were widespread voting irregularities--voter lists included the deceased and expatriate Egyptians, who are not permitted to vote in abstentia. President Bush issued a mild condemnation, saying only that events in Egypt do not correspond to the USA's notion of democracy. The Egyptian government praised the referendum as a "celebration of democracy".

Beirut. Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud met with Iranian FM Kamal Kharazi to discuss Security Council Resolution Iranian 1559 and Iranian support for Hezbollah. Iran says it lends moral but not material aid to the group.

Baghdad. Four police were wounded when gunmen opened fire on the residence of an Undersecretary of State for Security, Hikmat Moussa Salman, in the Ghazaliyah quarter of west Baghdad. Salman was not at home. This was the second assassination attempt on Salman this month.

Tuz Khormatu. A US soldier dies in a road accident.

Baghdad. A the body of amember of Premier al-Jafaari's al-Dawa party, Fakhri Abd Amiri, was found with his throat slit in the Qadissiah quarter of south Baghdad.

Baghdad. University professor Mussa Sallum Abbas and three persons accompanying him were slain in the al-Aalam quarter of south Baghdad.

Tel Afar. Four persons, including two children, were killed in pre-dawn clashes between rebels and US forces.

Baghdad. Al-Jaafari places conditions on visit to Damascus. President Ibrahim al-Jaafari declines invitation to Damascus unless certain issues are resolved first: border security and Iraqi funds frozen by Syrian authorities which Baghdad claims amounts to several hundred million dollars. However, al-Jaafari says he has spoken with Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri and Foreign Minister Farouk el-Shareh by phone.

Baghdad. Zebari plays down handshake with Israeli minister. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari played down the significance of his recent handshake with Israeli minister Ben Eliezer at the World Economic Forum in Jordan after the Jordanian Minister for Water Resources Raëd Abou Séoud introduced him.

23:37 Tikrit. US combat helicopter shot down between Tikrit and Baquba. Two persons known aboard.

18:49 Rome. Results of ballistics test in Calipari incident to be announced on June 9. Sources say more than one weapon was used.

16:16 Damascus. 1,200 people arrested at border with Iraq by Syrian forces.

15:26 Washington. A U.S. Marine Corps general dismissed all charges Thursday against a lieutenant accused of murdering two suspected insurgents in Iraq, the military announced. The decision by Maj. Gen. Richard Huck, commander of the 2nd Marine Division, ends the prosecution 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano, who was accused of premeditated murder for what prosecutors maintained was the unjustified killing of the two Iraqis in 2004, near Mahmudiyah. Prosecutors alleged Pantano intended to make an example of the two detainees by shooting them 60 times and hanging a sign over their bodies _ «No better friend, no worse enemy,» a Marine slogan. An investigating officer concluded in a report to Huck that murder charges should be dropped against Pantano, a former Wall Street trader who rejoined the Marines after the Sept. 11 attacks. Prosecutors allege Pantano killed the Iraqis because he believed they were launching mortars at his troops. [IOKIYAIB: It's ok if you are an investment banker--Nur]

15:10 Baghdad. Three Abu Ghraib inmates escape through a hole in the penitentiary fence.

15:03 Bratislava. Slovakia is committed to keeping its troops in Iraq, the country's foreign minister said Thursday. Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan reiterated Slovakia's position to keep its 107 soldiers in Iraq, most of whom are there for de-mining operations.

14:59 Baghdad. A nephew of Vice President Ghazi al-Yawar, Ali Abou Dima, was detained and questioned about his alleged connection to rebels.

14:58 Baghdad. An Industry MInistry official is shot dead. Chief administrator Thamer Nemat Ghaidan was shot dead as he shopped in a public market in downtown Baghdad.

14:56 Teheran. Supporters of reformist candidate Mostapha Moïn met in Teheran to decide if Moïn will enter the upcoming presidential race.

14:53 Dakuk. Dog bomb. A dog with an explosive charged tied to it was hurled at a military convoy and exploded, decapitating the creature. No injuries reported but 8 suspects were arrested.

13:31 Baghdad. Interim government announces deployment of 40,000 men around Baghdad. Regular and police forces will be deployed around the capital to seek out and destroy rebels and arms caches. This measure, dubbed "Operation Lightning", will divide the capital into 22 sectors and erect 675 checkpoints.

12:50 Baghdad. Iraq Interior Minister Bayan Baqer confirms wounding of al-Zarqawi.

11:16 Tel Afar. Child killed in clashes. An Iraqi child was killed in clashes between US soldiers and rebels. The US military claims the insurgents were using Iraqi children as "human shields".

11:04 Baghdad. Group linked to al-Zarqawi denies naming replacement for wounded leader.

08:05 Baghdad. Four dead in attack. Four Iraqis, inlcuding a translator who worked for the US Army were machine gunned by a gang of armed men in the Risala district of south Baghdad.

07:15 Baghdad. A convoy of all-terrain vehicles escorted by US Army Humvees was struck by a powerful roadside bomb near Shaab stadium in southeast Baghdad. US soldier isolated the area to evacuate the dead and wounded. When US personnel left the scene, they abandoned a completely destroyed all-terrain vehicle.

07:02 Baghdad. Five dead in car bombing. Three police and two civilians were killed and 17 bystanders injured when a carbomb targeted a convoy of passing police in the Sholaa quarter of northwest Baghdad.


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