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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Sunday, May 29, 2005

29 May 2005 Events in Iraq

Beirut. In the first phase of Lebanese legislative elections held in Beirut, voter turnout was between 15 and 27%. The slate headed by Saad Hariri, a millionaire Sunni and son of Rafik Hariri, won in a landslide. Meanwhile, despite the apparent lack of interest among the electorate, fights broke out in Beirut: there was a battle at the campaign headquarters of Greek Orthodox candidate Najah Wakim between Greek Orthodox and Druze involving fisticuffs and pistol shots. A fight also broke out between Hariri supporters and members of the Habashi sect.

Najaf. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani urged Iraqis to conserve electric power and to protect power installations Sayyed Sistani has issued a fatwa calling for energy conservation and to refrain from attacking power stations. According to a UN report, three out of four Iraqi households have irregular power supply. The most affected area is the capital, Baghdad, where 92% of homes experience regular power outages. 29% of Iraq home possess or share a power generator.

Damascus. Saudi Interior Minister Nayef ben Abdel Aziz says Syria turned over 30 Saudi nationals to the Saudi Arabian government who had been captured as they tried to cross into Iraq. The Saudi daily al-Watan, citing informed sources, reported on May 5th that 137 Saudis were held in Syrian prisons after attempting to cross into Iraq. Meanwhile, Iraqi officials praised Syria's arrest of 1,200 foreign fighters attempting to enter Iraq but requested more details.

Baghdad. Insurgents attacked two police stations, an Iraqi army barracks and a checkpoint within 30 minutes in the Abu Ghraib, Amariyah and Khadra neighborhoods, killing three civilians and wounding 15 people, including 10 Iraqi security forces.

Baghdad. Iraqi security forces killed a suspected bomb maker in northeastern Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military said. The man was shot after fleeing from his car and running from police.

Baghdad. Two Iraqi civilians and one Iraqi security forces member were killed and 20 injured when a suicide bomb rammed a convoy of police commandos in eastern Baghdad near a government security facility. Rebels open fire on the police after the blast.

Baghdad. A suicide car bomber killed four policemen, including an officer, and wounded four others in the Zayouna quarter of southwest Baghdad.

Madaïen. A car bomb killed three police commandos and injured nine civilians.

Baghdad. An Iraqi male was found shot dead in a western Baghdad street with his hands bound early Sunday morning.

Beni Saad. Iraqi soldiers killed four armed men northeast of Baghdad, and arrested an Egyptian identified as Abu Hamada for possessing weapons.

Al Anbar. US continues Operation New Market.

Baghdad. Armed men ambush a vehicle carrying Iraqi soldiers in south Baghdad, killing six.

Baghdad. US serviceman dies from wounds received on Thursday in a carbombing in southwest Baghdad.

Tuz Khormato. Suicide carbomb rams joint Iraqi-US convoy south of Kirkuk, killing two Iraqis and injuring 9. Eyewitnesses say there are US casualties.

19:39 Ramadi. Sunni cleric shot dead. Ahmed Faraj was killed in front of his home by three armed gunmen.

17:51 Washington. The Pentagon's top general on Sunday defended the treatment of prisoners at the U.S. Navy prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and said the U.S. believes al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is wounded, though it's not known how badly. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. has done a good job of humanely treating detainees. Muslims in several countries have protested in recent weeks about allegations that a Quran was flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo as part of an interrogation of a prisoner. The human rights group Amnesty International released a report last week calling the prison camp "the gulag of our time." Myers said that report was "absolutely irresponsible." He said the U.S. was doing its best to detain fighters who, if released, would turn right around and try to slit our throats, slit our children's throats.This is a different kind of struggle, a different kind of war, Myers said on Fox News Sunday.

17:49 Damascus. Syrian human rights activist and lawyer Habib Issa, jailed in 2001, was arrested today at his home in Damascus, says associate Khalil al-Maatouk.

17:46 Teheran. Iran demanded a clarification from Pakistan following remarks by President Pervez Musharraf concerning Iran's nuclear ambitions. In an interview in Der Spiegel, Musharraf said that Iran definitely wanted to acquire the atomic bomb. Meanwhile, the Pakistanis claim that Musharraf was "misinterpreted."

17:34 Jerusalem. The Israeli Government has decided to release 400 Palestinian prisoners on Wednesday or Thursday. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the release, saying the Palestinian Authority is being "rewarded for doing nothing to stop terrorism". Palestinian chief negotiator Saëb Erekat also blasted the decision, saying. It is important that all prisoners are released. It was agreed at Sharm al Sheikh that a joint committee would agree on an arrangement for prisoner release, but Israel acted unilaterally. Minister for Palestinians Interned in Israel Sufia Abu Zaydam said, Our priority is to obtain the release of young detainees, women, the elderly, the sick and politicial prisoners such as Marwan Barghouthi.

17:28 Luxembourg. EU ministers will meet on Monday to breathe new air into the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and to discuss the crises in the Middle East. The meeting is also the occasion to plan celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration. The partners Algeria, Egypt, Israël, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Syria, Tunisian and Turkey. The ministers will also propose a "roadmap" to set up a free trade zone and to end discrimination against girls in schools.

17:02 Baghdad. Foreign journalists report no sign of checkpoints and patrols as promised in the Iraqi capital in Operation Lightning.

15:33 Youssifiyah. Suicide carbombing kills 9 Iraqi soliders and wounds 3 at a checkpoint south of the capital.

15:20 London. The Sunday Times writes that al-Zarqawi is undergoing surgery in Iran. A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamdi Reza Asefi says the rumor is baseless.

13:38 Baghdad. 500 arrests made in Operation Lighting, the 40 thousand-man security initiative in Baghdad.

12:16 Baghdad. Oil Ministry carbombing. A suicide attacker tried to ram a Volkswagen sedan packed with explosives through the gate of the heavily fortified Iraqi Oil Ministry in eastern Baghdad. Guards fired on the car, which exploded about 20 yards from the gate, killing two security guards and wounding a policeman and passer-by.

12:06 Kabul. Video broadcast by Afghanistan's Tolo TV shows kidnapped Italian NGO worker Clementina Cantoni surrounded by gunmen.

11:46 Baghdad. 40,000 men to be deployed in and around Baghdad to seal off all entrances to the city in an effort to halt attacks.

10:55 Basrah. One British soldier killed when convoy sets off roadside bomb.

10:31 Canberra. Austrian hostage unable to be released due to combat. Douglas Wood, 63, was about to be set free when combat broke out, cancelling the arrangement.

10:08 Kahla. British troops attacked. British soldiers were wounded in an attack on their convoy in Kahla, 25 miles south of Amarah.

09:05 Baghdad. Two police sergeants were shot dead as they were driving to work in the Doura quarter of Baghdad.

07:42 Haqlaniyah. Roadside bomb kills US marine in western Iraq.

06:52 Bucharest. General reveals US plans and is removed. General Valeriu Nicut was relieved of duty after revealing in a press conference that the USA wants to take over the Romanian airbase at Kogalniceanu on the Black Sea as well as access to a nearby port.

04:11 Washington. General William Ward has been charged by President Bush to coordinated the Israeli withdrawal form the Gaza Strip.

02:32 Baghdad. Two of Iraq's most influential Shiite and Sunni organizations agreed to try to ease sectarian tensions pushing the country toward civil war as the government prepared to take its battle against the insurgency to Baghdad's streets.

00:11 Baghdad. A group linked to al-Zarqawi claimed credit for a triple carbombing in front of an Iraqi army base in Sinjar which killed six and wounded fifty-eight. The first bomb is said to have opened up a breach in the permiter. A second and third vehicle exploded amidst the crowd which hurried to the scene at the entrance to the base. Sinjar is the last town before Rabia, on the frontier between Iraq and Syria where a suicide bomb wounded 30 on May 16.

00:18 London. A British newspaper published letters on Sunday which it said were written by former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz from inside a U.S.-run high security camp on the outskirts of Baghdad. In the letters, hand-written in English and Arabic and published in The Observer newspaper, Aziz pleads for international help to end his "dire situation".

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