Empty Days

Monday, April 05, 2004



Update on what's developping in Iraq:

Iraq's most senior Shi'ite cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, appealed for calm last night, Arabic-language television stations reported. Sistani is more widely respected than Sadr. But some of Sadr's views are widely shared, such as rejecting the US-appointed Governing Council that is making key decisions about Iraq's future government.

However:

But as night fell, the atmosphere in Sadr City - once called Saddam City and renamed last year for Sadr's father, who was assassinated by regime agents in 1999 - was more suggestive of battle. Smoke rose over the sprawling neighborhood, helicopters circled, and Reuters television footage showed civilian cars crushed by tanks. A US military spokesman said US fighter jets and helicopter gunships were striking back in response to the Najaf clash.

Underlinings:

Yesterday, a senior coalition official confirmed that occupation forces had detained Yacoubi, the Sadr aide whose release the protesters are demanding. Yacoubi was arrested on an Iraqi warrant in connection with the murder of a Shi'ite cleric who was killed the day he returned to Najaf from exile a year ago after US forces took control of the city. The cleric, Abdel Majid al-Khoei, was hacked to death by a mob at the Imam Ali shrine.





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