Iraqi Police Arrest 527 in Dragnet
Sistani calls for National Unity
Al-Zaman: Iraqi police swept the al-Rusafah quarter of Baghdad on Tuesday, arresting 527 persons suspected of having committed violent crimes or of having been involved in weapons smuggling. They also made arrests of foreigners in the Bab al-Shaikh Quarter.
This set of mass arrests appears to be the first practical result of the hard line policies announced by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Recent emergency decrees in Iraq have weakened civil liberties.
Al-Hayat Likewise, a joint Kurdish and US military task force operating in the north of Iraq arrested 17 suspected members of the Ansar al-Islam terrorist organization in Mosul, Kirkuk, Samarra and Baquba.
Meanwhile, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani met at his office in Najaf with a delegation of Sunni Kurdish clerics from the Union of Islamic Clerics of Kurdistan. He condemned terrorism, condemened the attempts of some evil persons to sow dissension between Sunnis and Shiites, and called for Iraqi national unity across cleavages of religion, province, and so forth. He said that Iraq is for all Iraqis.