Shiite militiamen rained mortar shells on the Polish base at Diwaniya on Monday, and the fighting that thus broke out left 4 civilians, 3 gunmen, and at least 5 Iraqi children dead, along with 28 wounded. 15 houses were also partially destroyed in the fighting. The Polish ambassador was targeted, recently, as well. The recent attacks on Polish personnel in Iraq were explained on Monday by the claims put forward by two obscure Shiite groups. Likely they are offshoots of the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr. Sadrists have defied Muqtada in Diwaniya by fighting the police of the city, who are largely recruited from the ranks of the Badr Corps paramilitary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq of the al-Hakim family. The two have had several major battles. The 900 Polish troops in Qadisiya Province, of which Diwaniya is the capital, support the elected provincial government, i.e. implicitly they support the Badr Corps and al-Hakim. So the rogue Sadrists of Diwaniya would have every incentive to try to get the Poles out of their province, so as to deny Badr this edge. The Shiites appealed to Polish resentment of Soviet occupation, saying, ‘ “We know you were under occupation and how much you suffered, remember how much you suffered.”
I don’t know, though, that human beings work that way. Some of the recently occupied might get a kick out of occupying someone else, and so restoring their sense of manhood.
Sawt al-Iraq reports in Arabic that a curfew has been imposed on Diwaniya until further notice. Eyewitnesses said that the officially announced number of casualties was extremely low, and they were sure many more people had been killed in the fighting.
‘ BAGHDAD – A suicide car bomb killed four people and wounded 25 others, most of them women and children, outside a park in al-Harthiya district in western Baghdad, police said.
NEAR BALAD – A suicide car bomb killed six members of a tribal police unit aligned to the U.S. military in an attack on a checkpoint near Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
RAMADI – Police said they found three bodies with gunshot wounds and signs of torture in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad.
KIRKUK – A roadside bomb wounded four people in central Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. . .
MOSUL – Police said they found two bodies shot and bound in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. One of them was a member of the Mosul city council. . . ‘
McClatchy adds that police found 5 bodies in Baghdad on Monday, and that guerrillas killed three employees of a newspaper in the Sunni Arab Salahuddin province. Another man was killed in Basra after being kidnapped.