14 Killed, 71 Wounded
Maliki Demands Haditha File from US
14 deaths were from political violence were announced on Friday, according to Reuters, from bombings and assassinations around Iraq. In the most deadly single incident, “Two roadside bombs went off in an old and popular street market in central Baghdad, killing at least five people and wounding 57 . . .” 71 were announced wounded, including 2 US troops.
The US military denied reports about a deliberate massacre of civilians by the US military at a house in Ishaqi in mid-March. A spokesman said that the troops had taken fire from the house and had responded with appropriate force. The BBC aired a video on Thursday that showed shot-up dead children at the building. Local Iraqi police alleged that the GIs deliberately killed the civilians and then tried to cover up their crime by having the building collapse on them. The US military calls this scenario “absolutely false.”
Seven Marines are facing charges that they dragged an unarmed man out of his house and shot him, and that they may have tried to frame him by planting a shovel and AK-47. An Iraqi human rights activist charged that US troops murdering innocent Iraqis seemed to be a “daily event.”
Iraq’s new government will ask the US for the Haditha file, regarding an alleged massacre by GIs last November.
50 families had to be moved from Buhriz on Friday and distributed among other towns in Diyala after they received death threats if they did not leave their homes. A 9 pm curfew has been imposed in the province until further notice. The governor of Diyala is disgusted at this ongoing process of ethnic cleansing, and is unhappy with the performance of the new Iraqi army, though happier with the police.
Al-Zaman reports that on Friday the state of emergency was implemented in Basra. Unites of the Iraqi Army 10th Division were stationed at the major intersections and sensitive areas therein. It says that some locals are calling on the provincial security council appointed by Prime Minister al-Maliki to establish an emergency provincial government that could take control of security in the city for the period of one month. Two new members have been added to the security council, one from the Fadhila or Virtue Party and the other from the Iraqi Accord Front (Sunni fundamentalist). The previous members were Safa’ al-Safi, the minister of state for parliamentary affairs, Salam al-Maliki of the Sadr Movement, Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Badr Corps, and three members of the (Shiite) United Iraqi Alliance. These major parties have been fighting one another, and there has been violence from criminal gangs and smuggling rings.
Al-Zaman reports that US troops are conducting search and seizure operations in Samarra, searching for the radicals who assassinated a police commander. Al-Sharq al-Awsat says that a curfew had been imposed there.
A sermon attributed to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi calls Shiites snakes, threatens to kill Grand Ayatollah Sistani, and threatens violence against the (Sunni) Association of Muslim Scholars for not urging Iraqis to avoid joining the new police and army. (The extra details are from al-Zaman.) It also taunted the Mahdi Army that it gave up the fight against the US troops in spring of 2004. (-al-Sharq al-Awsat).
Al-Sharq al-Awsat/ AFP report that the representative of Sistani, Shaikh Abdul Mahdi Karbala’i, has crticized those Iraqi officials who isolate themselves from the people in the Green Zone of central Baghdad. He said the Green Zone can only be entered with special ID, as though it were a visa to another land.