Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Friday, 16 April 2004.  Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice.


Friday, 16 April 2004.


Fighting resumes in al-Fallujah at night on 12th straight day of siege.


Fighting in and around al-Fallujah resumed during Thursday-Friday night, according to al-Jazeera TV’s correspondent in the besieged city.  Intensive American cluster bombing was taking place as new battles erupted.  US helicopter gunships continued to shell and rocket parts of the city all night long. Initial reports early Friday said that the fighting had left six Iraqis dead and 11 others wounded.  Medical sources later said that the number of those killed had risen to 15, with 20 people injured, according to Dr. ‘Isam Muhammad, a physician in al-Fallujah.


Despite the intense air bombardment, Iraqi Resistance fighters knocked out a US armored  vehicle during the night, according to eyewitnesses.


Rumors also spread that the US had a plan to invade and seize the city that it has been besieging now for 12 days.


News coming from al-Fallujah says that the American occupation forces have made use of fresh units in an attempt to break into the city from the west.


Nevertheless, the city enjoyed relative calm on Friday during the daylight hours.


Al-Jazeera: direct talks between al-Fallujah leaders and American military underway.


Al-Jazeera satellite TV reported from al-Fallujah shortly after 8:00pm local time that secret talks were under way between a delegation of the people of al-Fallujah and a representative of the Islamic Party and other Iraqi representatives on the one hand and US forces.  These are the first direct negotiations reported since the US aggressors began laying siege to al-Fallujah 12 days ago.


‘Ulama’ Board member al-Kubaysi: US intensively clusterbombing al-Fallujah, violating truce, not sincere about withdrawal.


Member of the Board of Muslim ‘Ulama’, ‘Abd as-Salam al-Kubaysi, was quoted by al-Jazeera TV on Friday that US aggressor aircraft had been intensely pounding al-Fallujah – besieged now for 12 days – with cluster bombs.  Iraqi Resistance fighters and US aggressor troops did battle on Friday as the Americans continued their attempts to get into the defiant city.


In a press conference in Baghdad on Friday al-Kubaysi accused the US of violating the truce agreement that the Board of Muslim ‘Ulama’ had brokered.  He also said that the Americans were preventing food and other needed supplies from getting in to the besieged residents of al-Fallujah.  Al-Kubaysi said that the Americans had turned a bottling plant into a prison where local residents of al-Fallujah are being tortured.


The truce agreement that the Board of Muslim ‘Ulama’ brokered between the American aggressors and the people of al-Fallujah provided for an eventual US pull back from the city and the lifting of the siege.  But at the news conference, al-Kubaysi cast doubt on American claims that it was interested in withdrawing from the area of al-Fallujah, noting that the Americans were digging in to trenches around the city.


Iraqi Resistance hits US base, puppet police with mortar rounds in Mosul.


Iraqi Resistance forces fired mortars at a US occupation military base in Mosul, northern Iraq, and also at a puppet police station in the city.  US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said that eight persons were killed and 17 wounded in the attacks, but did specify the identities of the dead and wounded.


Russian, Chinese citizens brought out of the line of fire.  Citizens of aggressor countries continue to be taken hostage.


The Board of Muslim ‘Ulama’ reported at a Baghdad press conference that they had helped evacuate more than 300 Russian workers, bringing them to Baghdad.  The Chinese embassy meanwhile announced that a Chinese citizen who had been held hostage had been released.


Meanwhile, the Danish foreign ministry announced that a Danish businessman had been taken hostage in Iraq.


US troops, tanks surround Iraqi puppet troops who refuse to fight.


Members of the 36th Brigade of the puppet “Iraqi army” recently formed by the US occupation in Iraq reported to al-Jazeera TV on Friday that for three days their unit had been surrounded by US occupation troops backed by tanks and helicopters after they refused to join the Americans in military operations against their people in the defiant city of al-Fallujah.


US aggressors advance on al-Kufah.


A US column backed up by helicopters and warplanes stormed the southern Iraqi city of al-Kufah on Friday as a part of the US effort to kill or capture Shi‘ite religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr.  Battles erupted between members of as-Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi (Army of the Mahdi) and the US aggressors.


Al-Jazeera’s woman reporter in nearby an-Najaf reported early in the day that medical sources there as saying that two Iraqi civilians were killed and seven others wounded in the al-Kufah battles.


US admits one American killed, four wounded in al-Kufah fighting.


Later on Friday, a medical source in al-Kufah reported that at least five persons had been killed and 20 others wounded in clashes that took place near the city between American occupation forces and Muqtada as-Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi militia.  US-run Radio Sawa reported that the clashes left one American soldier dead and four others wounded.


Muqtada as-Sadr delivers Friday sermon in al-Kufah mosque.


Muqtada as-Sadr, meanwhile, denounced the American occupation of Iraq and the so-called interim governing council, which he said submits to orders given by the American occupation. In the sermon he gave in al-Kufah Mosque at Friday congregational prayers, as-Sadr rejected any call to dissolve his Jaysh al-Mahdi militia.  On Thursday, Shi‘ite religious authority Ayatallah ‘Ali as-Sistani warned the United States against trying to storm an-Najaf.  Nevertheless, the US aggressors were distributing leaflets in an-Najaf calling Muqtada as-Sadr an “outlaw,” complicating the negotiating efforts under way to solve the crisis between the US occupation forces and as-Sadr.  Al-Jazeera TV reported that a mediator in that process said that the American side was imposing impossible preconditions whose aim was to scuttle the negotiation process.  He refused to give any further details.


Early on Friday afternoon news out of al-Kufah reported that a number of explosions had shaken the city.  Reuters reported that dozens of armed Resistance fighters raced to meet the occupation troops in battle.


Muqtada as-Sadr predicted on Friday that no agreement signed with the US occupation authorities would succeed.  Stating that he was ready for death fighting the foreign troops in Iraq.


During his first public appearance for two weeks, as-Sadr said in his Friday sermon in the large mosque in al-Kufah: “We will never allow occupation forces to enter an-Najaf and the holy sites because they are places they are forbidden to enter.  No bargains that they might try to impose on us will do them any good.  Those who attacked civilians and innocent demonstrators in al-Fallujah must be tried.”


As-Sadr also took a hostile stance to the puppet so-called interim governing council, saying: “ I want to address the lackeys of the west and tell them ‘you say that we are postponing the hand over of authority to the Iraqis and obstructing the formation of a government, but the fact is that we are trying to prevent the sell out of Iraq and the formation of a government of traitors.”


Once Canadian, three Czech hostages released.


Southern Iraqi cities in recent days have been turned into war zones with armed confrontations between the occupation and Iraqi citizens.  Dozens of Iraqis have been killed as have a number of US aggressor troops.


Al-Jazeera TV reported on Friday evening Iraq time that one Canadian and three Czech journalists who had been held hostage had been released by their Iraqi Resistance captors.  Reuters reported eyewitnesses as saying that the Candadia was released on Friday and handed over to the office of Muqtada as-Sadr in an-Najaf.


Al-Jazeera reported that the Czech Foreign Ministry had confirmed that three Czechs who had been taken hostage on Sunday were released on Friday.


Captured US soldier shown on al-Jazeera TV.


Al-Jazeera aired video footage Friday showing a US soldier in the custody of Iraqi Resistance forces, surrounded by masked gunmen.  On the tape, the soldier identifies himself as Private First Class Maupin. One of two missing soliders in Iraq is Pfc. Keith M. Maupin, 20, of Batavia, Ohio.  The video footage shows the soldier sitting on floor with five masked Resistance fighters behind him holding automatic rifles. Two US soldiers and seven US “civilian contractors” have been officially listed as missing in Iraq since their convoy was attacked April 9 outside Baghdad, amid a wave of kidnappings targeting foreigners. The other missing soldier is Sergeant Elmer C. Krause, 40, of Greensboro, North Carolina.


Iraqi Resistance forces fire mortar at British base in al-Basrah.


Iraqi Resistance forces fired a mortar round at the British aggressor base in al-Basrah late on Friday, according to a statement by a member of the local puppet council to Agence France Presse (AFP).  British forces had no comment on the incident.


US Marine invaders boost their troop strength along Iraqi-Syrian border.


US Major General John Suttler, operations director of the American central command said that the US Marine invaders are reinforcing their numbers on the Iraqi-Syrian border in order to “frustrate efforts to infiltrate into Iraq.”  He said that the Marine invaders had been able to seal the border but said that some Arab volunteers still manage to slip through.  Suttler was speaking on US Radio Sawa.


Green Brigade: “we will kill an Italian hostage every 48 hours.”


The Green Brigade Resistance organization in Iraq has announced that it plans to kill one Italian hostage every 48 hours.  The organization captured four Italian mercenaries working with an American “security company” several days earlier and demanded that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledge to withdraw Italian forces from Iraq.  When the Italian leader rejected the call, the Green Brigades on Wednesday executed one Italian hostage and sent a video tape of the killing to Arabic satellite TV stations.  It was the first foreign hostage to be killed in Iraq.


American businessman kidnapped from hotel in al-Basrah.


Colonel Khalaf al-Maliki of Chief of the puppet police in al-Basrah, southern Iraq, announced on Friday that an American businessman had been kidnapped from the hotel in which he was staying in the city.  According to the Associated Press, al-Maliki said that that American was captured on Thursday.


The Iraqi Resistance has begun using the method of kidnapping foreigners to put pressure on the occupation forces of various countries serving the American aggression.  Twenty-one foreigners were kidnapped in the past eight days.


US occupation says Jordanian-born businessman kidnapped in al-Basrah.


US occupation authorities announced on Friday that a Jordanian businessman traveling under a United Arab Emirates passport had been kidnapped in the southern city of al-Basrah five days earlier.  The American official told Reuters on Friday that Wa’il Mamduh had come to al-Basrah two months previous then disappeared five days ago.


Rumsfeld expresses surprise at rise in US casualty figures.


In Washington on Thursday, Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, expressed surprise at the increase in the official numbers of US killed and wounded in Iraq during recent days as the Resistance struggle escalates.  According to official and obviously understated statistics, 88 American aggressor troops have been killed since the beginning of April in combat with the Iraqi Resistance.