43 Iraqis Dead in 2 Days
Shiite Pilgrims Massacred
Killings in Sinjar, Hilla
Wire services report that the unconventional sectarian civil war in Iraq continued on Saturday. Guerrillas in Qaim executed 10 Shiite pilgrims originally from Diwaniyah returning from Syria. The shrine of Sayyidah Zaynab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad and the sister of martyred Imam Husain, is located near Damascus and likely the pilgrims had been up to visit it. If there is anything calculated to provoke Sunni-Shiite civil war, it is the murder of people who just came back from a religious pilgrimage to a sacred Shiite site.
In addition, two suicide bombers killed at least five Iraqis and wounded dozens more when they set off their payloads at a join US/Iraqi army base near the northern town of Sinjar close to the Syrian border.
Guerrillas killed four Iraqi soldiers and wounded a fifth when they shot up the car carrying them near Hilla, a Shiite city south of Baghdad.
It was announced by Iraqi authorities only on Saturday that there had been bombings in Tikrit and killings in Babil province south of Baghdad on Sunday that left a dozen or so dead.
The Scotsman reports that “A roadside bomb blast targeting a US convoy in Mosul killed three Iraqi civilians, including a 10-year-old boy.”
It also reports that the Association of Muslim Scholars (Sunni) and the Badr Corps paramilitary of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI, Shiite) have reached an initial agreement to back off their earlier confrontation witon one another and to “serve the nation.” The agreement came about through the mediateion of Muqtada al-Sadr and his aides, Shiite nationalists who are probably on friendlier terms with the hard line Sunnis than they are with the Badr Corps, their rival. Another meeting of the two sides is planned.
About 1,000 US and Iraqi troops continued their find and destroy operation against guerrillas in Haditha in western Iraq.
Tidbits from the Iraqi press via BBC World Monitoring for May 28:
“Dar al-Salam on 26 May publishes on page 2 a 250-word report on the statement issued by the University Professors Association condemning the US “occupation” forces for violating the Al-Anbar University campus. . .
Al-Zaman publishes on the front page a 220-word report citing the newspaper’s reporter as saying yesterday, 27 May, that Iraqi security forces backed by multinational forces are imposing a tight siege around Buhriz district in the Diyala Governorate, in a search for specific individuals. Al-Zaman publishes on page 3 a 150-word report citing police sources in Al-Diwaniyah confirming the arrest of a gang involved in forging official documents . . .
Al-Ufuq carries on page 4 a 200-word report stating that the Education Ministry has reinstated 88 teachers in the Karbala Education Directorate. [These were Shiites fired by Saddam for not being loyal Baathists.] . . .
Al-Mashriq publishes on page 6 a 600-word article commenting on the fatwas being issued by religious authorities in Iraq and urging the Iraqi public to listen to their conscience and not only to these fatwas.”