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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Saturday, August 13, 2005

13 August 2005 Events in Iraq

Baiji. Four Iraqi soliders were killed by small weapons fire between their base at Siniya and the town of Baiji.

Dhoulouiyah. Gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint 70 km north of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and wounding four others.

Shourgat. A 26 year-old interpreter, Hassan Ali, employed by the US military was shot dead 300 km north of Baghdad.

23:07 Youssifiyah. Bodies of six men, some dressed in uniforms worn by guards at foreign installations in Baghdad, were found south of the capital Saturday, hospital and police officials said. The bodies were found in Youssifiyah, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Baghdad, in a tense religiously mixed area where attacks on Shiites, government security forces and U.S. troops are common. Ahmed Naief, an ambulance driver, said he transferred the bodies to Baghdad's Yarmouk hospital after U.S. and Iraqi troops defused two bombs nearby. It was unclear how long the men had been dead. He said three bodies were wearing uniforms of the Facilities Protection Service, a government force which guards foreign embassies and government buildings in Baghdad. He said the other three were believed to have been Shiite farmers.

22:18 Cairo. Three men were sentenced from 15 to 55 years for antiquities trafficking by a Cairo court. One of the accused was Swiss national and aother was an Egyptian-born German. The smugglers had stolen thousands of mummies, sarcophagi and other items over several years from archaeological sites such as Saqqarah, Tell el-Amarna, Dahshour and Tel Basta.

21:49 Baghdad. Sunni minority rejects federalism. We neither accept nor desire federalism. We remain convinced that it means division and it cannot be approved at this time, siad Kamal Hamdoun, a Sunni delegate to the Constitutional Drafting Committee.

21:06 Baghdad. Saad Djawad Qindeel, a Shi'ite member of the committee drafting Iraq's constitution, said the committee would make the deadline.

20:43 Gaza. The Quartet (USA, EU, UN and Russia) has donated $500,000 to a private consortium to acquire Israeli-owned greenhouses in the Gaza Strip.

20:34 Gaza. Hamas has warned that it will not renounce armed struggle after the Gaza evacution as George Bush went on Israeli TV to demand that the Palestinian Authority disarm the militants.

20:19 Jerusalem. Israeli authorities on the lookout for anti-Muslim provocations by extremist Jews on the Temple Mount. Thousands of Israeli security forces have been deployed to Jerusalem's Old City and access to the Esplanade of the Mosques will be denied to the ultra-rightists. The al-Aqsa Mosque was built on the site of the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekremah Sabri, issued a call on Friday to the Muslim faithful to rally at the mosque on Sunday, saying that extremist Jews would try to take the building by force.

19:53 Crawford. Hundreds of demonstrators supporting President George W. Bush and others protesting the war participated in a wild goose chase on Saturday. Anti-war demonstrators assembled in Crawford to participate in an anti-war rally as supporters of the President descended on "Camp Casey", the anti-war encampment. The presence of nearly 1,000 protesters in total in and around the small town of Crawford resulted in a heavy police deployment.

19:10. Baghdad. Less than 48 hours remain before the deadline for the presentation of the Constitution to parliament. Persisting disagreement may result in an incomplete text without resolution of the thorniest problems. Meanwhile, the Sunnis categorically reject a federal state.

18:46 Tehran. Iranian police were tracking members of a separatist group, Pezhak, who had kidnapped four of their members when they opened fire and killed several fighters near the frontier with Turkey. Tension is high in northwest Iran after members of the Kurdish minority rioted in Mahabad last month. In August, two people were killed and 145 arrested following demonstrations in Saqqez. Iran has a population of 67 million, including 6 million Kurds who live in the mountainous regions of northwest Iran.

15:08 Hanover. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder excluded recourse to military action to force Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, saying military action would produce nothing: Let us leave the military option off the table; we've learned from experience that such an option is worthless. The Chancellor was referring to statements made by US President George W. Bush, who said in an interview on Israeli television that he would not exclude the use of force against Iran.

15:02 Baghdad. Iraqi MP Mounzer al-Fazzal says 14 of the 18 remaining issues holding up the final draft of the Constitution have been resolved, including an article guaranteeing 25% of the seats in the national legislative body to women. Oil revenues will be distributed among the provinces based on the demographic population, added MP Saleh al-Motlak. The official name of the country, the issue of the regularization of the peshmerga fighters and the status of Kirkuk are also reportedly resolved.

14:59 Nassiriya. Italian contingent reduced by 130 men. 120 to 130 men of the San Marco Battalion have returned to Italy and will not be replaced, announced Lt. Col. Fabio Mattiassi.

14:34 Nasaf. US Marines are said to have killed 15 civilians and wounded another 17 in responding to an attack on a military convoy in Nasaf, west of Baghad, say residents. According to witnesses, a mine exploded near the Ibn al-Jawzi, mosque following Friday prayers as US armored vehicles passed nearby. Marines immediately opened fire with a machine gun on the crowd. The Director of Ramadi General Hospital, Mounem Aftan, said there were 15 dead, including 8 children, and 17 wounded. Bloodstains could be seen on the sidewalk outside the mosque and its walls were pocked with bullet holes. However, the Americans deny the massacre. Spokesman Capt. Marine spokesman Jeffrey Pool said there was no gunfire near a mosque but would not confirm that an incident had taken place or whether any US soldiers were injured.

14:29 Sadr City. A homemade bomb stuck an US armored vehicle. A Doura Refinery employee was killed and another person wounded by gunfire in the same district.

14:03 Baghdad. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani predicted that the Consitution would be drafted by Sunday.

10:46 Baghdad. Carbomb stikes US vehicle; 1 person is dead. At least one Iraqi civilian was killed and another wounded in a suicide car bombing in the al-Doura quarter of south Baghad. US troops had exited their vehicle to examine a roadside bomb when a suicide car bomber drove into them.

00:41 An agreement to leave greenhouses intact in the Gaza Strip after Israeli settlers leave, turning over to the Palestinians a major economic engine for the impoverished region, resulted from the personal intervention of an American envoy, James Wolfensohn. The agreement on the greenhouses, announced Thursday night, will leave intact 90 percent of the 1,100 greenhouses on 405 hectares (1,000 acres) of Gaza, the strip's largest employers. The U.S. Agency for International Development had planned to pay for the greenhouses, but the Palestinian Authority, the government of the Arab residents of lands taken by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, rejected the plan on grounds it would compensate Israelis for occupying Palestinian land. Wolfensohn, a former Wall Street broker with Salomon Brothers, contributed $500,000 of his money and rounded up American and other donors to provide the rest.


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