Italians Battle Sadrists in Nasiriyah
Late wire services on Friday afternoon in the US report that Nasiriyah was quiet after fighting earlier. Reader Anne Aldridge kindly summarizes a recent ANSA report from Rome on the situation earlier Friday:
Intense combat is under way at Nasiriya between the Moqtada al Sadr militia and
Italian military that support the local police. This information was released by the Italian headquarters. Mortars were fired south of the city on the road to Suq ash Shuyukh, toward a check point run by the Romanians.
No injuries so far among the Italians, while there were some victims among the rebels, who also tried to break through the check point of the Lagunari [translator’s note: a division named after the lagoon around Venice] on one of the city bridges using a car bomb. Iraqi government sources mention 6 dead and 13 injured.
The fighting began yesterday afternoon and continued throughout the night, with a few pauses. After negotiations between the governor and the head of the guerillas, there seemed to be a truce, but more mortar blasts raised the tension. A while ago there was heavy fire against the Lagunari.
The most delicate situation was on the three city bridges, guarded by the Lagunari, that the militia tried to take. In one of these attacks, the Italians hit an auto travelling at high speed while its passengers fired. The car exploded, indicating it may have been a car bomb. A similar attempt was foiled at another bridge. Mortar shells hit the Libeccio base and an electrical substation, causing a partial blackout in the city.
The situation calmed down during the morning after negotiations between the governor
of the province of Dhi Qar, the Shiite militia and the local police. But a short time ago there were more mortar shots and firing. The situation is quite tense.