McClatchy reports that a US missile strike aimed at a suspected Mahdi Army HQ blew out the windows in a hospital next door in the densely populated slum of Sadr City. Flying glass produced by a missile is like lots of little missiles:
‘The rocket strike near Sadr Hospital injured 30 people, shattered the windows of ambulances and sent doctors and hospital staff fleeing the scene, hospital officials said. That hospital and another major facility in Sadr City had already taken in 25 dead bodies between Friday afternoon and 10 a.m. Saturday, when the strike occurred, hospital officials said. None of the injuries was life threatening. The U.S. military is facing growing criticism over what residents describe as mounting civilian casualties in Sadr City, a densely populated slum of some 2.5 million people, which has seen heavy clashes over the past six weeks between U.S. and Iraqi forces and militiamen loyal to the hard-line Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr.’
It adds, “American troops also killed 14 people in separate incidents in and around Sadr City as bloody street battles continued to mark the U.S. effort to rid the area of suspected Shiite Muslim militants, military officials said.”
Iran is threatening to pull out of scheduled talks with the US over the strikes on civilian neighborhoods by US missiles.
Al-Hayat reports that the Iraqi parliamentary delegation now in Iran, sent by PM Nuri al-Maliki, will ask Tehran’s help in reestablishing the relationship between the elements of the United Iraqi Alliance (the Shiite coalition that includes the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the Da`wa (Islamic Mission) Party, including the Sadrists. They are seeking to make up ahead of the provincial elections now scheduled for October. The delegation is demanding that Sadr dissolve his Mahdi Army militia and obey the central government’s commands, in return for which he will be guaranteed a prominent role in the central government. This source on the delegation said that Muqtada is in Qom and that the delegation will attempt to conduct a direct dialogue with him.
Another member of the delegation, though, contradicted this account, saying that they had only come to see a high ranking official (presumably Qasim Sulaimani of the Quds Force). This member denied that they would seek discussions with Sadr.
Sadr spokesman Falah Shanshal said that no agreements reached between Maliki and the Iranians would be recognized by the Sadr Movement if Muqtada al-Sadr was not part of the parleys.
In other news, Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic that The Iraqi National List of Iyad Allawi is demanding that PM Nuri al-Maliki apologize to Allawi for suggesting that he was behing the January, 2007 millenarian uprising in Najaf. Al-Maliki’s people say that apologizing will be “difficult.” (Maliki’s accusation is bizarre).
McClatchy reports political violence on Saturday:
– Around 8:30 am a roadside bomb targeted traffic policemen at Nafaq Al-Shurta (Shurta tunnel) neighborhood (west Baghdad). One civilian was killed and eight were injured (including 6 traffic policemen).
– Around 10 am, the Sadr hospital in Sadr city was hit by an American missile. Thirty people were injured and a number of ambulances were damaged, a hospital official said. The U.S. military said that a targeted strike destroyed a “criminal element command and control center.” The center was near the hospital and the U.S. military said that only the windows were damaged at the hospital.
– Around 3pm, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Amil neighborhood near Amil petrol station(west Baghdad). No casualties reported.
– Around 3pm, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Mohammad Al-Qasim high way near Shaab neighborhood(north east Baghdad).No casualties reported.
— Around 3pm, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Shaab intersection (north east Baghdad). No casualties reported.
– Police found 4 dead bodies in Baghdad today: 2 were found in Karkh bank; 1 in Bayaa and 1 in Hurriyah. While 2 were found in Risafa bank; 1 in Shaab and 1 in Ur.
– Saturday morning, clashes took place between gunmen and Iraqi army at Sumer neighborhood in Mosul city. One gunman was killed in those clashes.
– Around noon, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Tal Al-Ruman(south west Mosul).Three people were injured (including two policemen).
– Saturday morning a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol near the third bridge in downtown Kirkuk city. Three policemen were injured.
– Saturday morning a 7-year-old child was injured when he picked up a flashlight in the street. The flashlight was rigged with explosives and it exploded. The child, Mohammed Omran, was killed in the Shurta neighborhood in downtown Khanaqin (north east Baquba). ‘