14 Dead in Iraq; More Fighting between Sadrists and US Troops;
Between a huge car bomb in Adhamiyah in Baghdad (which killed 4 and wounded many others) and new clashes with US troops, some 14 Iraqis died in violence on Wednesday. Guerillas also targetting a big US military arms depot in Kirkuk, setting off a huge set of explosions.
Az-Zaman: Fighting broke out again on Wednesday between the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr and US troops on a number of fronts in the Shiite south. There were clashes in Kufa when US armored vehicles entered the city from Najaf. The Mahdi Army militiamen opened fire on them. There did not appear to be any casualties in this battle.
There was also fighting in East Baghdad, as US armored vehicles rolled into that area. Two Mahdi Army militiamen were killed in these clashes. Shaikh Kadhim Jamal said, “Two of our militia fighters from the Mahdi Army were killed in the course of clashes in Sadr City . . . The reason for the clashes was that a number of US military vehicles entered the city, which was viewed as extremely offensive by the inhabitants . . . Mahdi Army elements attacked these forces that entered the city, and a clash occurred, involving an exchange of fire.” He added, “There is no cease fire between us and the American forces . . . If these forces again entered the city, we would confront them and resist them.
Nagem Salem has an informed treatment of the relationship between Muqtada and Sistani. Likewise, Daniel Williams of the Washington Post has profiled Muqtada as a leader of the poor.