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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, June 16, 2005

16 June 2005 Events in Iraq (and Elsewhere)

Mosul. An Iraqi judge, Salim Mahmoud al-Haj Ali, and his bodyguard were killed Thursday in an eastern Mosul neighborhood. Six masked gunmen in two cars blocked the road and sprayed the judge's car with machine-gun fire.

Kirkuk. Four soldiers and four civilians were wounded in a suicide bombing at the entrance to the Northern Oil Company complex.

Baghdad. Iraqi Secretary of State for Internal Security Abdel Karim Al-Anzi says amnesty may be offered to any group willing to lay down their weapons.

Jenin. Israeli troops on Thursday arrested several Islamic Jihad members including a local leader in the West Bank town of Jenin. Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza responded by firing two rockets into southern Israel. One hit a college campus and the other damaged an unoccupied firetruck, causing no casualties.

23:14 Basrah. Pirates represent a continuing menace for the port of Basrah. Another supertanker was attacked by pirates, one week after a similar incident. Three men armed with assault rifles and knives boarded the vessel but discovered were chased off by the crew. Dubai-based Gulf Agency Company (GAC) said the same vessel was attacked two days ago.

21:54 Kirkuk. A 55 year-old woman was killed by a mortar round which landed in the garden of her home near Kirkuk Airport.

21:39 Nassiriya. A roadside bomb struck an Italian patrol 50 km from Nassiriya, causing light damage to their vehicle. The bomb was constructed of 155 mm artillery shells.

19:28 Musayyib. The corpses of five family members were discovered by police at a farm in Musayyib, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Baghdad. A group of armed men wearing police uniforms broke into the family's house Wednesday and pretended to arrest them but later killed them. In Latifiyah, the remains of six people were found. Gunmen used the bodies as a trap to ambush arriving police. There were no immediate reports of injuries. In Tash, a town northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi forces found two decapitated bodies.

18:00 Washington. President George W. Bush plans a more determined effort to defend the Iraq war amid growing public doubts and a demand by some in Congress for a firm timetable to pull out U.S. troops, said White House aides.

18:04 Damascus. Syrian media attacked a meeting held in Paris on Monday on economic aid to Lebanon, saying the meeting was actually called to determine what to do in the face of the results of Sunday's third round of elections in which pro-Syrian candidates allied with Maronite General Michel Aoun won 21 seats in parliament.

17:58 Amman. Police shot dead a gunman who fired randomly in downtown Amman on Thursday, wounding four people. The gunman's identity and age have not been released.

17:55 Washington. George W. Bush praised Hispanic soldiers who "gave their life for liberty" in Iraq.

17:54 Baghdad. The parliamentary committee charged with drafting the new Constitution agreed to a deal to allow 15 Sunnis and 10 advisors to participate in the process. The deal was personally brokered by Sheikh Abdel Rahman Monshed al-Assi and Saleh Motlak. However, a member of the Committee of Iraqi Ulema, Sheikh Abdel Salam Kubaïssi, said the group would not agree to a process "with the occupier behind the curtain" and "inspired by Paul Bremer."

17:51 Washington. President George W. Bush would have to start bringing home U.S. troops from Iraq by Oct. 1, 2006, under a measure a small bipartisan group of House of Representatives lawmakers, including a Republican who voted for war, proposed today.

17:44 Baghdad. Bombing and shooting attacks west of the capital killed six U.S. troops. Five Marines were killed after their vehicle was attacked near Ramadi, 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad. A US sailor attached to the Marines' unit also was killed in Ramadi by gunfire.

17:43 Washington. George W. Bush has invited Iraqi Premier Ibrahim al-Jafari to the White House on June 24. The training of Iraqi security forces will be a key issue.

17:29 Washington. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will arrive Friday in the Middle East to accelerate Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. She will visit the West Bank, Jerusalem, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, diplomatic sources said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office has rejected a U.S. request for a joint news conference with Rice out of concern that she might apply public pressure to Israel to offer more cooperation to Abbas at a summit next Tuesday.

17:15 Gaza. The Palestinian militant group Hamas disclosed on Thursday that European Union diplomats had held talks with some of its members, an apparent shift in EU policy that drew sharp criticism from Israel. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Thursday that the EU had given low-level diplomats permission for contacts with representatives of Hamas's political wing. Israel, which rejects any contacts with Hamas, was quick to voice it concerns. Hamas is a murderous terrorist organisation responsible for countless acts of violence against Israeli civilians, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

17:14 Baghdad. A U.S. general blamed Jordanian-born terrorist leader Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi on Thursday for the "fantastic rise" in the number of civilian deaths in Iraq. U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Don Alston, spokesman for the Multinational Force in Iraq, also said the Syrian border is the "worst problem" in terms of the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq.

17:09 Tripoli (Lebanon) Huge crowd turns out to support Saad Hariri ahead of Sunday's fourth and final round of the Lebanese national legislative elections. Hariri is challenged by Maronite General Michel Aoun and his list, headed by Suleiman Franjeh, a personal friend of Syria's Bashir al-Assad. 28 seats in parliament are at stake.

15:49 Mosul. Al-Zarqawi lieutenant Mohammed Khalaf Shakar, aka Abu Talha, was captured in Mosul by US forces.

15:47 Baghdad. Al-Zarqawi extends ultimatum. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has extended by 72 hours an ultimatum demanding the release of all imprisoned Iraqi females. The group threatens to execute 36 government soldiers if the demand is not met.

14:51 Baghdad. Six police were killed and 25 wounded when a suicide bomber rammed their convoy on the road to Baghdad Airport. Five convoy vehicles were destroyed in the bombing, which took place in the Jihad district of southwest Baghdad.

12h33 Ahvaz (Iran). The Ahvaz Arab Armed Movement claims credit for the series of bombing in Iraq which killed 8 and wounded 75 on Sunday. In a video uploaded to, The Moheddine Al-Nasser Martyr Brigades led the operation. Moheddine Al-Nasser was executed in Ahvaz by the Shah on 6 June 1964. Meanwhile another group, the Ahvaz Arab Popular and Democrat Front, denies any involvement in the bombings.


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