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A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press.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

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

24 August 2005 Events in Iraq and in the Region

Baghdad. Two civilians died and thirteen others, including police, were wounded in a carbombing and shootout.

Tikrit. Two civilians were killed and three others wounded by a homemade bomb.

Baghdad. Two police succumbed to their wounds after being shot by unknown assailants while driving through the Shaila quarter on their way to Dura west Baghdad.

Baghdad. One soldier was killed and an officer wounded by a mortar round fired at at checkpoint north of the capital.

Baghdad. Four security guards were killed and five others wounded in a rebel attack on a convoy escorting Busho Ibrahim, a Deputy Minister of Justice.

Baïji. A 33 year-old Iraqi interpreter was killed by gunmen in the center of town.

Balad. An army officer was shot dead.

Samarra. The bodies of three Iraqi soliders were recovered west of the city.

Baghdad A deputy of the Iraqi justice minister, Yosha Ibrahim, escaped assassination, but four of his guards were killed and five wounded in an attack by gunmen on his convoy in western Baghdad.

Khalis. Four Iraqis were killed and seven were wounded when gunmen attacked their bus in Khalis, 75 km (46 miles) north of Baquba. Police said the dead were pilgrims returning from a visit to holy shrines in Iran.

Baquba. Four mortar rounds landed on a base used by the Iraqi police's 'rapid reaction force' in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, wounding seven. Police said most of those wounded were recruits, but said a young girl and a child were also injured.

Musayyib. An Iraqi soldier was killed and another wounded when two mortars landed on a check point at Musayyib, south of Baghdad.

Baghdad. Sunnis, deaf to pleas from the United States, continue to denounce the draft of the new Iraqi Constitution.

Baghdad. Reuters demands the release of one of its cameramen held in a secret location by the US military. The US military refuses to say why it has detained Ali Omar Abraham al-Mashhadani.

Cairo. Israel and Egypt finalised a deal on Wednesday for Cairo to replace Israeli troops along its border with Gaza with 750 special police to prevent arms smuggling to Palestinian militants.

Jerusalem. An Israeli official said Israel would proceed with plans to fence in the largest West Bank settlement, Maale Adumim, to link it to Jerusalem. Expropriation orders were issued last week for four Palestinian-owned tracts of land, the official said. The move would effectively cut off Palestinians from East Jerusalem. Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal indivisible capital, a claim not recognised internationally. The World Court has ruled all Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank are illegal. Israel disputes this.

23:15 Baghdad. Supporters of an Iraqi Shi'ite cleric opposed to a new, U.S.-backed constitution clashed with police and rival militias in Baghdad and other cities overnight. Sadr, a strident nationalist whose followers deride rival Shi'ite Islamist leaders for their time in exile in Iran, has joined leaders of the Sunni Arab minority in denouncing the draft constitution as a recipe for the break up of the state. A Sadr spokesman warned of a "general call to arms" if there was no apology and criticised Najaf's governor, a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, from another Shi'ite Islamist party Dawa, made an impromptu live television address after midnight to urge calm and to praise the Sadr movement.

23:46 Najaf. Clashes erupted between rival Shiite groups across the Shiite-dominated south Wednesday, threatening Iraq with yet another crisis at a time when politicians are struggling to end a stalemate with Sunni Arabs over the nation's draft constitution. Trouble in the south began when supporters of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr tried to reopen his office in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, which was closed after the end of fighting there last year. When Shiites opposed to al-Sadr tried to block the move, fights broke out. Four people were killed, 20 were injured and al-Sadr's office was set afire, police said. That enraged al-Sadr's followers, who blamed the country's biggest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq or SCIRI, for the Najaf trouble. SCIRI, which controls key posts in the national government, quickly denied responsibility and condemned the attack. Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, a member of SCIRI, told Iraqiya television that he was dispatching a commando brigade to Najaf to restore order. As word of the Najaf attack spread, clashes broke out between the two Shiite rivals across central and southern Iraq, including the country's second largest city Basra, where several hardline Shiite groups are competing for influence. Fighting was reported in at least six Basra neighborhoods as al-Sadr's followers attacked SCIRI offices and the headquarters of SCIRI's Badr Brigade militia, setting it afire, police said. Al-Sadr's headquarters in Basra was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire, according to police. In Amarah, eight mortar shells were fired at the SCIRI office, and a dozen pro-al-Sadr officials announced they were also suspending work. Gunmen from al-Sadr's militia roamed the streets. Clashes were also reported in Kut, where a SCIRI-owned building was torched, and in Nasiriyah. Faced with yet another crisis, Prime Minster Ibrahim al-Jaafari, also a Shiite, appeared on Iraqiya television shortly before midnight to call for restraint. «The battle should not be between the people of Iraq but against the enemies of Iraq,» al-Jaafari said, using language reserved for the insurgents. «The language of guns has gone forever.» Although the clashes could end as quickly as they began, they were ominous, coming at a time when Iraq faces an increasingly bold insurgency and a difficult constitutional process that has exacerbated rather than calmed religious and ethnic tensions.

23:58 Jerusalem. A British orthodox Jew was stabbed to death and another wounded by a Palestinian wielding a 30 cm knife.

23:54 Tulkarem. Israeli troops killed four Palestinians, including a leader of Islamic Jihad in a Palestinian refugee camp in the northern West Bank Israel said the four resisted arrest for their role in a suicide bombing in Netanya. The dead are Abu Khalil, 26 , of Islamic Jihad, Majdi Attia, 20 , of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Mahmoud Hdeep, 17 also of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Anas Abu Zeina, 15, a member of Fatah.

23:26 President George Bush displayed his displeasure at the resistance of Sunni leaders in Iraq over the Iraqi Constitution.

23:15 Obstinately refusing to meet with the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, George W. Bush took advantage of his visit to Idaho to praise a woman whose husband and five sons had served in Iraq.

23:16 Najaf. An internal Shia dispute degenerated into a bloody clash as debate over the Constitution continues. Local residents in Najaf were protesting the return of radical militiamen loyal to Moqtada Sadr when fighting erupted. Also, the Mahdi Army appeared in significant numbers in Sadr City and took over three Dawa Party offices. In southern Iraq, Sadr militias appeared on the streets of Nassiriyah.

15:15 Arbil. The Kurdish Parliament approved the draft Constitution for Iraq in a special session.

15:08 London. The draft of the new Iraqi Constitution was criticized for its complexity by the IISS, International Institute for Strategic Studies. The document is poorly organized and poorly written, say Iraq specialist Toby Dodge.

14:18 Baghdad. Security forces carried out several raids in the Amiriya Ghaziliya quarters of northwest Baghdad, arresting several suspected guerrillas.

14:56 Tehran. Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday accused the United States of trying to undermine his country and said Iran's civilian militias could defeat America if called upon. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's comments, aired on state-run radio, come after tensions rose this month when U.S. President George W. Bush said «all options are on the table» if Iran doesn't comply with international demands to halt its contentious nuclear program. Washington claims Iran wants to build atomic weapons, but Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.

14:51 Baghdad. The new head of Iraq's biggest Sunni government organization accused «some elements» in the Shiite-controlled Interior Ministry of random arrests to keep Sunni Arabs from registering to vote in the constitutional referendum. The ministry initially denied but later confirmed the arrests in Madain, 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Baghdad. The ministry said 132 people had been detained but did not say when. Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai, head of the government's Sunni Endowments, said the arrests were intended to keep Sunni Arabs from meeting the Sept. 1 deadline to vote in the planned Oct. 15 referendum on the new constitution, which Sunni Arab negotiators oppose.

14:43 Baghdad. Guerrillas launched as sustained attack with grenades against an Iraqi several police checkpoints in west Baghdad. Following the attack, forty men, their faces masked and armed to the teeth, were seen celebrating in Hay al-Janna quarter. Six police vehicles were set ablaze. Iraqi police called in US troops in support during the attack. At least three people were killed and 30 wounded.

12:42 Messina. A 10 year-old Iraqi child, Shafa, wounded by a stray bullet as she slept, will be operated on in Messina at the expense of the Italian Red Cross and the Defense Ministry. Shafa remains paralyzed after a high-caliber bullet lodged in her spine.


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