Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that tensions have heated up in the Shiite South between the Sadr Movement and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (which maintains the Badr Corps paramilitary). The Sadr movement on Friday accused the Badr Organization of assassinating Sadr leaders. Sadrist MP Ahmad al-Masoudi accused the Badr Organization of having organized militias to assassinate prominent Sadrist leaders. He said that 4 prominent Sadrist leaders have been assassinated in Hilla Province in recent weeks. Three suspects are in custody, and Masoudi maintained that documents tied them to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior. Last week two Sadrist leaders were assassinated in Basra.
The experiment in forming tribal councils in the Sunni Arab areas was dealt another blow by the assassination Thursday evening of the leader of the “Awakening Council” of Salahuddin Province. The killing comes only weeks after the head of the Awakening Council in al-Anbar Province, Sattar Abu Rishah, was assassinated.
A US air strike on a village near Baquba killed 25 persons and wounded 40 others, including women and children, according to Al-Hayat. AFP carries a similar story. The US military maintains that its strike killed 25 rogue Iraqi militiamen involved in smuggling weaponry from Iran. Apparently the Americans accused these militiamen of having an Iranian connection, but Iraqi authories doubt the whole US story.