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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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, July 24, 2005

24 July Events in Iraq and in the Region.

London. The transportation sector trade union, RMT, reports that a Tube motorman was threatened at gunpoint by British security forces.

Baghdad. Iraqi police infiltrated by rebels. Time Magazine reports fact.

Damascus. Syria sends 60 tons of humanitarian aid to Iraq, including food, tents, blankets and medical supplies.

Sharm el-Sheikh. The recent bombings have hurt both the regime of Mubarek and the Opposition, say political analysts. Nabil Abdel Fattah of the al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies said that the attacks aimed to discredit the Egyptian régime by challenging its capacity to ensure its own security at a time when Egypt pretends that it is the regional guarantor of security. Egypt has entered the scene as an indespensible mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, particularly in the approach of the mid-August Israeli evacuation from Gaza. Reacting to the bombings, Israeli Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Youval Steiniz says the attacks represent a major failure of Egyptian intelligence services. The Saudi newspaper Saudi Gazette wrote that the bombers wished to disrupt the 7 September presidential elections. Egyptian analyst Diaa Rashwan confirmed that the bombings would have a negative impact on the vote. This attack by virtue of its size is unique in Egyptian history. It will have a major impact on the political life of the country. The regime now has every reason to maintain the State of Emergency. This is intimidating for the Opposition and negative for democracy. Rifaat al-Said, chairman of the opposition party Tagammou (leftist), said that the Islamists have caused democracy to fail and have handed the government a reason to reinforce the state of emergency.

Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has threatened the Palestinians with new military measures following an ambush which killed a Jewish couple. However, after talks in Ramallah, Condoleezza Rice announced that there should be no lock-down of the Gaza Strip following the evacuation. Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom has blamed the Palestinian Authority for the attack.

Jerusalem. Talks between Palestinians and Israelis collapse. Talks on the Gaza evacuation between Israeli Defense Minister Shaoul Mofaz and Palestinian Interior Minister Nasr Youssef have produced nothing and have failed, says Tawfik Abu Khussa, a Palestinian spokesman.

Jerusalem. Sharon denies that he is ill. Sorry, but I am as fit as a fiddle, said Sharon concerning rumors of his ill health.

Damascus. Syrian Transport Minister Makram Obeid says the delay in crossing the frontier by commerical truck traffic is a "pseudocrisis". Meanwhile, the Syrian press denounces Lebanese politicians who have "insulted Syria".

Damascus. The Syrian Transport Minister, Makram Obeid, asserting that the "security of Syria is sacred", said that trucks from Lebanon are undergoing both customs and security searches. Obeid added that contacts were underway between the Lebanese carrier, Middle East Airlines, and Syrian Airways aiming at privatization.

Beirut. The Bekaa Agricultural Association says farmers are collectively losing $1 million per day due to the slow pace of inspections at the Syrian border.

Beirut. The largest Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon, Aïn el Héloué, home to 50,000 Palestinians, has blocked access to the camp to protest the recent control on the comings and goings of residents carried out by the Lebanese military. Camp residents set fire to tires and stopped traffic for three hours. Security around the camp was imposed following the attempted assassination of Élias Murr. Mr. Murr said in a television interview that he was in possession of information proving the terrorists sought by law enforcement are inside the camp.

Ar Rutbah. A US marine was killed by a bomb near the Jordanian frontier.

Baghdad. Sunnis appear to wish to return to the Constitution draftting committee, which they have boycotted since Thursday.

Baghdad. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani announced that security measures would be boosted for members of the Constitution drafting committee.

Baghdad. Americans and Iraqis have formed a joint committee to establish the criteria for a US pullout, said US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The chaiman of the committee is Mouaffak al-Roubaï, Iraqi Security Advisor.

23:12 Jerusalem. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon threated the Palestinians with "a new military type of reply" following an attack on an Israeli couple at the Kissoufim crossing in the Gaza Strip.

21:47 Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon denounced what he consideres to be an attempted takeover by extremists in the Palestinian territories at a conference in Afoula in northern Israel.

21:31 Washington. The new Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Turki al-Faisal, said that the Iraqi government must do more itself to secure its frontiers.

21:34 Najaf. Abu Salam al-Kubaisi of the Committee of Iraqi Ulema met with Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and announced that Iraqis cannot freely draft a Constitution while US troops are present in the country.

21:29 Balad. A Task Force Liberty soldier was killed and two others wounded by mortar fire directed at their base.

20:46 London. Police apologize but firestorm continues over death of Brazilian. The mea culpa of Scotland Yard has not mollified Brazilian anger at the death of Jean Charles de Meneze. Meanwhile dozens of Brazilians residing in Britain demonstrated in front of Scotland Yard demanding justice.

20:35 London. The Brazilian government has requested the details concerning the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, executed by police. Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim says the UK government has pledged a full investigation.

20:19 Sharm al-Sheikh. Residents demonstrate against bombing.

20:09 London. British security forces make another arrest in the area of Tulse Hill.

18:28 London. Police carried out a controlled explosion of a suspect package in west London.

18:03 Islamabad. Pakistani authorities arrest 210 persons in connection with the 7 July London bombings.

16:16 Baghdad. At least 40 people have been killed by a suicide bomber who blew up a truck laden with explosives at a police station. More than 30, mostly civilians, were injured in the blast in the eastern al-Mashtal area. The explosion was so powerful that body parts were thrown onto the roofs of adjacent buildings. The blast - which came in the middle of a sandstorm - left a giant blackened crater at the scene. 25 parked cars were demolished.

15:19 Cairo. A homemade bomb exploded in Cairo, wounding the Eqyptian who was transporting it in the Qerdassa district in the south of the capital.

12:22 London. Scotland Yard apologizes for the death [execution] of a Brazilian electrician at the Stockwell Tube station.

09:48 Haswa. A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi checkpoint, kiling a child and wounding six civilians travelling in a minibus.

09:38 Baghdad. A police official and a patrolman were shot dead by insurgents.


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