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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Friday, June 17, 2005

17 June 2005 Events in Iraq (and nearby)

Koussaïba. A Blackhawk was forced down near Koussaïba, 20 km from Qaïm.

Beirut. Lebanese officials express surprise and dismay that the US is badgering the country to disarm Hezbollah and Palestinian refugee camps before the election cycle has been concluded and a new government installed. Moreover, Lebanese officials are disturbed by a "bizarre", impromptu conference held last week in Paris among Britain, the EU, France and the United States without Lebanese representation. Officials also fear that the US and its allies aim to make permanent the settlement of Palestinians refugees in Lebanon.

Jerusalem. The Jewish state is building an underwater barrier in the northern Gaza Strip. The first 150 meters of an 800-meter underwater wall have been constructed. Also, Israel has built a series of floating buoys anchored in 4.2 meters of water with radar and monitoring equipment on its maritime border with Lebanon.

Paris. Journalists' compound planned for Baghdad. Robert Ménard, Secretary General of Reporters without Borders, proposed a guarded journalists' compound for Baghdad to French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

Qaim. The chairman of the local Committe of Iraq Ulema, Moudhafar al-Ani, called on citizens to close shops and return to their homes after Friday prayers: US forces are worsening the situation and we are going to call a general strike after prayers next Friday. Al-Ani added that they US was endangering the lives of hundreds of innocent civilians.

Baghdad. Five people were killed by a carbomb which detonated 20 meters from the Kamaliyah Mosque just as two fuel trucks were passing by.

Baghdad. Six bodies were recovered north of the capital, including one businessman and two soldiers.

Baghdad. Five people, including 2 members of an Interior Ministry commando squad, were wounded by a carbomb in southeast Baghdad.

Washington. A Pew Institute poll says 46% of Americans want a pullout of US troops from Iraq compared only 36% last month.

Baghdad. The new British Ambassador to Baghdad, William Patey, says he is opposed to a schedule for the pullout of multinational forces from Iraq. Meanwhile Iraqi Assembly speaker Hajem al-Hassani said a rapid pullout by multinational forces would be dangerous.

23:54 Teheran. Pragmatic cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was likely to face a run-off vote against reformist Mostafa Moin after failing to secure outright victory in Iran's presidential elections, aides to both men said. Voting was extended by four hours to accommodate latecomers.

23:28. Los Angeles. U.S.-based Iranian opposition groups urged expatriates to boycott Iran's presidential election on Friday and flooded hotels hosting secretive voting stations with protest calls. Some 3 million Iranians live outside Iran, more than one-third of them in the United States -- some 500,000 in the Los Angeles area alone.

23:16. Washington. An international special envoy helping coordinate Israel's planned Gaza Strip withdrawal hopes to raise an aid package of as much as $3 billion to help Palestinians after a pullout. Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn was trying to raise the money for projects that could include a seaport, border crossings and other infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

22:22 Ankara. Turkey and Iraq have agreed to reinforce their diplomatic ties and to fight human trafficking. The Turkish consulate in Mosul and the Iraqi consulate in Istanbul will be reopened as soon as possible. Iraqi officials promised to intensify their efforts to protect Turkish supply convoys and recover the remains of approximately 90 Turks, mostly truck drivers, ambushed and killed in Iraq.

22:04 Beirut. U.N. investigators have found that former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed by a bomb in a white Mitsubishi 1996 truck, putting to rest the theory the explosives had been hidden underground, Chief U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis told reporters Friday. Mehlis had said in February the explosives were unlikely to have been underground as Hariri's motorcade had sophisticated electronics that would jam a signal for a remote-controlled detonation.

21:42 Teheran. Iranians voted for a new president of the Islamic Republic. The results will be announced on Saturday morning. It is likely that a runoff election will be held between Rafsanjani and reformer Mostafa Moïn

21:10 Baghdad. US Army launches offensive, including airstrikes and amphibious assault units, against Iraqi insurgent near Qaim in western Iraq. F-16 aircraft dropped 500 lb bombs on several homes 220 kg during Operation Harpoon. Witnesses in Karabila said US aircraft struck a suburb of Qaim, killing 6, including one woman. The US military claims to have killed 125 insurgents.

18:26 Teheran. Heavy voter turnout for the Iranian presidential elections.

01:56 Ft. Smith. US authorities have arrested a US student of Palestinian origin who is said to have been planning to join Islamic Jihad to fight Israel. Arwah Jaber, a naturalized US citizen born in Yamoun in the Palestinian Territories, sent an email to a university professor saying he was going to join Islamic Jihad to fight "Israeli terrorism".

00:55 Washington. A US Army Sergeant wash charged with the murder of two officers in Iraq. Sgt. Alberto Martinez, 38, of Troy, NY, was charged with the premeditated murder of two US Army officers near Tikrit: Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, and Lt. Louis Allen, 34.


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