Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Thursday, 20 May 2004 through Saturday, 22 May 2004. Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice.
Thursday, 20 May 2004.
Iraqi Resistance in al-Fallujah prepares to strike US forces if they fail to remove their checkpoints around the city.
Earlier in the week, the Iraqi Resistance in the city of al-Fallujah gave US aggressor forces a grace period of three days, ending on Friday, 21 May, during which time they were to removed all their checkpoints and roadblocks around the city. Resistance fighters had noticed the Americans setting up checkpoints to the north, east, and west of the city and therefore sent word to the American invaders telling them that they needed to remove such roadblocks before the end of Friday congregational prayers at midday on 21 May.
To demonstrate that the Resistance threats are in earnest, the Resistance fighters destroyed an American tank, killing all the aggressor troops who were aboard it west of al-Fallujah on Wednesday. This attack compelled the US invaders to remove their troops from some of the checkpoints and to take down the earthen embankments they had set up at those locations.
The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam in al-Fallujah reported that it appears that the Resistance is prepared to carry out their threats. Late on Thursday there were unusual movements inside al-Fallujah, he reports, as Iraqi Resistance fighters from the north west to the north east of the city began to mass.
Iraqi Resistance destroys three Humvees near al-Karmah on Thursday, inflicting casualties.
Iraqi Resistance forces destroyed three US Humvees with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) when they attacked an American aggressor patrol as it passed through the area of al-Karmah. The Resistance fighters rushed at the US patrol, scoring direct hits on their vehicles with the RPGs. The American troops in the vehicles were also killed or wounded, but no detailed information on losses was provided by the correspondent of Mafkarat al-Islam who reported the attack.
One US soldier killed, three wounded in Resistance grenade attack in Baghdad.
US aggressor sources announced on Thursday that one US invader soldier was killed and three others wounded when Iraqi Resistance forces attacked them with handgrenades in downtown Baghdad. The American Associated Press (AP) reported that the attack occurred in the early hours of Thursday morning. The American occupation authorities provided no further details of the Resistance attack.
Nighttime blasts hit US occupation headquarters in al-Anbar Province.
Five explosions shook the area around the US occupation headquarters in al-Qasr al-Janubi in al-Anbar Province west of Baghdad during the night of Wednesday to Thursday. In response US aggressor troops opened fire with machine guns at nearby houses, inflicting damage. According to the Egyptian Middle East News Agency there were no immediate reports of casualties in the incidents.
Fighting resumes between Jaysh al-Mahdi and US aggressors in an-Najaf.
Late on Thursday battle resumed between the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia loyal to Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr and US aggrssor forces in an-Najaf according to a report carried by Agence France Presse (AFP). An AFP correspondent reported that the fighting is concentrated in the area around the northern entrance to the city. Mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades as well as automatic weapons fire could clearly be heard in that part of the city on Thursday night.
Leaders of the Shi‘i tribes held a meeting in an-Najaf with representatives of Muqtada as-Sadr as part of a renewed effort to end the fighting between the Jaysh al-Mahdi and the US aggressors. Since that meeting, fighting has resumed with renewed fury.
Spanish aggressor troops come under Resistance attack.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry has reported that a group of Spanish aggressor troops on Thursday was attacked by Iraqi Resistance fighters. Reuters reported the attack as well, but no further details were immediately available.
Resistance blasts Bulgarian aggressor camp with mortars.
A spokesman for the Bulgarian Defense Ministry reported that two mortar shells slammed into a Bulgarian aggressor military camp in the city of Karbala’ early on Thursday morning. The BBC reported from Bulgaria that the official spokesman claimed that barrage damaged a military vehicle, but caused no casualties. Occupation troops in Karbala’ regularly come under mortar attack by the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia, loyal to Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr.
US aggressor forces arrest al-‘Arabiyah cameraman in Baghdad.
Al-‘Arabiyah satellite TV, which is based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, reported that US occupation forces on Thursday arrested one of their cameramen in Baghdad. Cameraman Husayn al-Karim was arrested as he was filming in al-Bay‘ah District in the Iraqi capital. The American Associated Press (AP) reported that US aggressor forces had closed off the area in which al-Karim was filming, after the Americans received reports of a car on fire there. The US occupation forces have issued no information on the arrest as of the time it was reported.
The arrest comes one day after al-‘Arabiyah broadcast a filmed report on the US helicopter massacre in the village of Makr ad-Dib near al-Qa’im in the western part of Iraq where some 45 Iraqi civilians celebrating a wedding were killed by the Americans.
Friday, 21 May 2004.
US sets up new checkpoint on main road leading to al-Fallujah, in violation of cease fire agreement concluded with local Resistance.
The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam in al-Fallujah reported late on Friday that US aggressor forces were re-establishing their checkpoints on the al-Fallujah bridge east of the city, the point considered to be the main entrance to al-Fallujah. People coming to the city must wait for four hours before US aggressor troops allow them to pass into the city.
This measure is regarded as a new provocation by the US invaders who clearly are trying to damage the morale of the Resistance fighters in the city, Mafkarat al-Islam’s correspondent writes.
Amid these developments, al-Fallujah residents ask whatever happened to the so-called Islamic Party of Iraq, a party that collaborates with the US invaders but which helped to broker the cease fire that allowed for the lifting of the US siege on the city. The resurrection of US checkpoints leading into the city are in clear violation of the cease fire agreement. The latest US measure has moved al-Fallujah residents to wonder if the cease fire was in fact nothing more than a means to allow the Americans to extract themselves from a no-win situation as they besieged a defiant city and took heavy losses in the process, and indeed to rescue themselves from an eventual defeat.
Al-Fallujah Resistance fighters destroy US tank as Resistance launches attacks after their deadline for the US to remove checkpoints passes.
Iraqi Resistance fighters in al-Fallujah on Friday destroyed an American tank by firing three rocket-propelled grenades at it after sunset. The Resistance had observed the tank north of al-Fallujah in the area of the railroad tracks. The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam in al-Fallujah reported that this attack was the first Resistance attack by the al-Fallujah Resistance fighters after the end of the grace period they had given the US aggressor forces during which time they were supposed to take down their barriers and checkpoints around the city. That grace period ended with the Friday congregational prayers at midday. The Resistance had threatened that if the Americans did not remove their barricades by that time, they (the Resistance) would begin attacking the invaders.
US starts trying to cut off al-Karmah area near al-Fallujah.
US aggressor forces began on Friday evening to encircle and besiege the area of al-Karmah, near al-Fallujah, west of Baghdad. Their blockade cuts the road that follows a branch of the Tigris, the al-Fallujah road, and the ash-Shu‘lah road. According to the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent in al-Fallujah, these developments follow a successful Resistance operation against the US aggressors in the al-Fallujah area in which a tank was destroyed by three rocket-propelled grenades.
Al-Karmah is a rural area which is therefore difficult to besiege effectively. Houses are set far apart and it is considered a tribal area.
On Thursday, al-Karmah was the scene of an engagement in which the Resistance destroyed three American tanks with rocket-propelled grenades. That attack occurred when a US patrol passed through the al-Karmah area.
Two powerful blasts shake Baghdad Friday afternoon.
Eyewitnesses reported that two large explosions were heard in downtown Baghdad on Friday afternoon. According to the American Associated Press (AP), Iraqis saw clouds of thick black smoke densely covering the area where the blast occurred – often an indication that some target, probably a vehicle, had been destroyed. There was no other information immediately available on the explosions.
Jaysh al-Mahdi engaged in fierce battle against US offensive against Karbala’, an-Najaf, al-Kufah.
The Jaysh al-Mahdi militia, loyal to Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr, battled a violent US offensive on the city of Karbala’ on Friday. The US aggressors claim that they killed 18 Jaysh al-Mahdi militiamen as their AC-130 helicopter gun ships and tanks pounded militia positions near the tombs of the Imams al-Husayn and al-‘Abbas.
US aggressor forces were driven out of al-Mukhayyam Mosque in the city, a place they occupied last week but where they were subjected to frequent Resistance attacks. The humiliated agressors tried to save face by saying that their patrols in the city “would continue.”
The American retreat from the mosque took place hours after a major US military operation into Karbala’ was reportedly postponed. The operation was postponed to allow discussion between Iraqi puppet leaders and the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia on a possible negotiated end to the fighting, a senior US military official told the American Associated Press (AP) on condition of anonymity.
Fighting between American forces and the Jaysh al-Mahdi was also heavy in an-Najaf and neighboring al-Kufah, south of Baghdad. Explosions rocked the center of an-Najaf, near local government buildings, and Friday congregatioal prayers were canceled because of the violence. A huge fire raged in a vegetable market.
An American spokesman for the 1st Armored Division claimed that the fighting in Karbala’ started after Jaysh al-Mahdi militiamen fired several rocket-propelled grenades at US aggressor tanks that had penetrated to the outskirts of the so-called "Old City," a maze of alleyways and cluttered. The US invader tanks returned fire, and more than two hours of heavy fighting followed. Smoke billowed from burning buildings. Explosions lit up the night sky and reverberated throughout the city. Electric lights flickered on and off. By 3:00am Friday morning, the fighting had stopped.
The American spokesman said that 18 Resistance fighters had died in Karbala’. Dr. ‘Abbas Falih al-Hasani of al-Husayn Hospital in the city said, however, that 12 people had died, including two Iranian pilgrims. Thirteen others were injured, he added.
Echoing US, ‘Ali as-Sistani urges: ‘Do not follow the heresy of Resistance.’
After Friday congregational prayers in Karbala’, Shi‘i worshippers inspired by pro-American cleric Ayatallah ‘Ali as-Sistani and opposed to Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr, set off in marches to protest armed struggle in the Shi‘i holy cities which were occupied by US invader forces in April 2003.
Taking part in the march were Ahmad as-Safi and ‘Abd al-Mahdi al-Karbala’i, representatives of as-Sistani in Karbala’, as well as supporters of the collaborationist organization called that Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) whose leader is a member of the US-appointed puppet so-called “interim governing council” of Iraq. Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of SCIRI which cooperates with the US aggressor forces in operations against the Iraqi Resistance, provided “security” for the marchers.
Before the march, ‘Ali as-Sistani delivered a Friday sermon to the people of Karbala’ in which he urged them “not to be drawn along by the march of heresy” – his term for the Resistance struggle against the American occupation. Rather than openly calling on the population to support the American occupation, as-Sistani called on the faithful not to “give the Americans an opportunity to desecrate the [Shi‘i] holy places.”
Local Shi‘i tribal leaders held meetings with representatives of Muqtada as-Sadr on Thursday in an-Najaf trying to convince him to end his resistance to the American occupation.
US military admits one American killed in bomb attack “in Iraq.”
US aggressor propaganda authorities announced on Friday afternoon that one American soldier was killed in the explosion of a homemade bomb in Iraq. According to Agence France Presse (AFP) the American spokesman had no further details on the American death.
Top aid to Muqtada as-Sadr captured by Americans in ambush.
Late on Friday a source in the office of Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr in an-Najaf reported that Muhammad at-Tabataba’i, an aide to Muqtada as-Sadr, was ambushed by US aggressor forces who wounded him and killed his driver, according to al-Jazeera satellite TV. Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that the as-Sadr office in an-Najaf issued a statement saying that US forces had arrested as-Sayyid Muhammad at-Tabataba’i al-Hakim and those who were with him and killed his driver as they were leaving al-Kufah after Friday congregational prayers, and heading by a back road to an-Najaf.
Muhammad at-Tabataba’i al-Hakim is one of the closest advisers to Muqtada as-Sadr and the only one who stands directly behind him when as-Sadr delivers his Friday sermon. A source close to as-Sadr who asked not to be identified said that the Americans believed the car in which Muhammad at-Tabataba’i al-Hakim was traveling was that of Muqtada as-Sadr and therefore they stopped and arrested its passengers.
Every Friday Muqtada as-Sadr runs a tight American blockade to from an-Najaf to al-Kufah, 10km away, where he delivers his sermon, and then back again through the blockade. To do that he always winds his way through back roads and obscure routes to avoid falling into the hands of the American aggressors who have announced that they want to “capture or kill” him.
Al-Jazeera driver killed in Karbala’.
One of those killed in Karbala’ was a driver for a camera crew of al-Jazeera satellite TV. Rashid Hamid Wali died while helping the crew as they filmed the battle from a hotel roof shortly after midnight Friday morning, according to Ahmad ash-Shaykh, al-Jazeera’s news editor in its Qatar headquarters.
Al-Jazeera reported that Wali, 38, died when an American tank bullet penetrated his left eye and came out the back of his head. Wali was shot while looking down from the hotel roof as US armored vehicles moved in the street below, according to Al-Jazeera. Sa‘d Ibrahim, a producer in al-Jazeera’s Baghdad office said that Wali was killed by fire from an American tank. The US aggressors had no comment.
The American military have frequently harassed, arrested and on a few occasions, killed reporters and crew members working for the independent Arabic television networks al-Jazeera and al-‘Arabiyah. The US occupation authorities object to the Arab stations’ desire to go beyond official US statements in reporting events in Iraq, something western news agencies seldom, if ever, do.
CIA Chief pays secret visit to Qatar to silence al-Jazeera TV.
Lebanese media sources reported on Friday that Arab diplomatic sources report that the Director of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), George Tenet, paid a secret visit to Qatar on Tuesday where he met the Emir of Qatar Shaykh Hamd ibn Khalifah Al Thani and the Qatari Foreign Minister Hamd ibn Jaxim ibn Jabr Al Thani. The US spy chief gave the Qatari leaders a letter from the American Administration that the sources report was couched in undiplomatic, tough, and frank language.
The sources report that the letter contained one paragraph concerned with what it described as “the policy of media incitement pursued by Qatar’s al-Jazeera satellite TV company against the American forces and the American presence in Iraq.”
The sources, reported by the Saudi News Agency WAS say that Tenet asked the Qatari leaders about a “double standard” that he said was practiced by Qatar, since that state had warmly welcomed American military forces on its territory, and eagerly hosts the US Central Command with its vast base. Yet this, Tenet said, was in contrast to what he called the “media incitement policy” that al-Jazeera pursues against the US forces and the American presence in Iraq. Tenet reportedly blamed al-Jazeera’s “incitement” for the “blatantly bloody situation” that exists in Iraq today.
As-Sadr to worshippers in al-Kufah: ‘don’t give up if I’m arrested or killed.’
Meanwhile in al-Kufah, Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr led Friday congregational prayers as usual. He told 15,000 worshippers in his sermon, “Do not let my killing or arrest be an excuse to end what you are doing, supporting the truth and standing up to the wrong.” Two people died in fighting in al-Kufah, witnesses said.
Two civilians killed in an-Najaf.
One civilian died and another was injured in an-Najaf when their car was caught in fighting, hospital officials said. At least 14 people were injured.
Spanish journalist reported abducted, then released near al-Kufah.
A Spanish National Radio reporter was taken captive by Resistance fighters on Friday while traveling to report on al-Sadr's sermon, the station's news director said in Madrid. Correspondent Fran Sevilla was seized by Jaysh al-Mahdi militiamen loyal to al-Sadr, news director Javier Arenas said. Sevilla was being held in a mosque by the militiamen and apparently had not been harmed, Arenas said.
Later on Friday evening Radio Madrid reported that the Spanish radio correspondent had been released unharmed and in good health, according to a report carried by al-Jazeera satellite TV. The reporter headed for Baghdad after his release and then was to carry on to Madrid.
Sevilla was able to inform his radio station of his abduction himself before his captors confiscated his telephone from him. Sevilla, who had been in Iraq for two years, covered the departure of the last contingent of Spanish invader troops from ad-Diwaniyah before heading to an-Najaf on his way to al-Kufah where he was to cover the Friday sermon of Muqtada as-Sadr.
Name confusion surrounds US arrest of as-Sadr representative in Kirkuk.
US aggressor troops arrested Anwar al-Jinani, (a representative of Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr), and 10 supporters in a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, according to Iraqi puppet authorities quoted by the American Associated Press (AP).
The website Mafkarat al-Islam, on the other hand, quoted General Anwar Muhammad Amin of the puppet so-called “civil defense forces” as saying that the name of as-Sadr’s representative in Kirkuk whom the Americans arrested is ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Musawi.
In any case, the US propaganda office in Baghdad claimed it had no information on the arrest.
US occupation troops arrested dozens of supporters of Muqtada as-Sadr in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Friday. Al-Jazeera reported that US invaders raided the offices of Muqtada as-Sadr in the Ahmad Agha section of the city where they arrested Ahmad Kinani, as-Sadr’s deputy in Kirkuk, along with 15 fellow members of the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia. A quantity of light and medium-weight automatic weapons were confiscated from the offices, as were computers and hand grenades, according to US propaganda announcements.
Lieutenant Colonel ‘Adnan Sabir of the Iraqi puppet police told Agence France Presse (AFP) that some 200 US aggressor troops simultaneously raided five Muqtada as-Sadr offices in Kirkuk, arresting “dozens” of his supporters. All those arrested were taken to the US base at Kirkuk Airport, Sabir reported. Sabir said that the Americans confiscated any weapons they found in the main office in the center of Kirkuk and in the offices that are located in al-Khadra’, al-Wasiti, June 1st, and 1990 Districts, all of which are predominantly Shi‘i Arab and Turkoman in population.
Isma‘il Karim, an official in the main office of Muqtada as-Sadr in Kirkuk said that the US forces arrested 17 person in that office alone, and confiscated a number of formatted discs. Karim said that a number of puppet policemen “wearing masks” accompanied the US aggressors, and added that “they were speaking Kurdish.”
Iraqi Resistance attacks puppet so-called civil defense base, killing four wounding one.
Iraqi Resistance fighters in pickup trucks opened fire early Friday morning on a base of the puppet Iraqi so-called “civil defense” forces near Ba‘qubah, 60km north of Baghdad. Four puppet troops were killed, according to the report issued by the US-appointed Iraqi puppet authorities.
Spanish invader troops leave ad-Diwaniyah base.
In Madrid, the Defense Ministry said the last Spanish aggressor troops in Iraq withdrew from their base in ad-Diwaniya on Friday and headed for Kuwait on their way back home. The news agency Efe said the Spanish general in charge of the unit transferred control of so-called Base España in south-central Iraq to US forces Thursday night.
US military: American Marine dies in “traffic accident” while on patrol near Iraq’s western border.
American military sources claimed on Friday morning that a US Marine invader, belonging to the 1st Marine Division, was killed in a “traffic accident” when he was on a security patrol in the far west of the Iraqi province of al-Anbar.
As thousands still languish behind barbed wire, US aggressors release some prisoners from Abu Ghurayb concentration camp.
US aggressor forces released a number of prisoners from the infamous Abu Ghurayb prison near Baghdad on Friday amidst growing reports around the world of the atrocities committed by the barbarous aggressors against Iraqi inmates of the concentration camp.
According to al-Jazeera satellite TV, the batch of prisoners released on Friday were a part of some 427 inmates whom the American aggressors had promised to free. The US routinely sets free dozens of prisoners, most of whom it rounds up and incarcerates for no particular charges but only because they happened to be in the vicinity when one of the many Resistance attacks take place.
Witnesses saw a caravan of trucks carrying released prisoners from Abu Ghurayb to some location outside of Baghdad where hundreds of relatives waited for their loved ones’ release. Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted US spokesman Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt as saying that the American aggressors had released 454 prisoners on Friday, with another 394 set to be freed on 28 May.
The United States has published no precise figures for the number of inmates in its vast network of concentration camps across occupied Iraq, but the total number of political prisoners is usually set by international monitoring bodies as between 12,000 and 13,000.
Saturday, 22 May 2004.
Iraqi Resistance blasts a hole in US siege of al-Karmah in bold mortar attack.
Iraqi Resistance fighters in al-Fallujah managed to break the siege that US aggressor forces had tried to impose on al-Karmah by attacking US troops near there with mortars.
The al-Fallujah correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the Resistance attack, that took place Saturday afternoon, targeted the food storage areas of the Americans at at time when the US troops were gathering to receive their food rations. The extent of casualties is unknown, but the one storage area was struck by 25 mortar shells.
The US forces withdrew from the south of al-Karmah before sunset on Saturday, an action that the Mafkarat al-Islam correspondent says was probably a response to their fear that the Resistance might launch similar attacks from inside their lines under cover of night.
The Resistance attack hit the American aggressors from behind their lines, using the same approach employed by the Resistance in al-Fallujah in breaking the US blockade there. Such tactics there compelled the US invaders to accept the preconditions set by the Iraqi Resistance and to agree to a withdrawal from around al-Fallujah.
US invader troops wounded in Resistance bombing in ar-Ramadi.
Al-Jazeera satellite TV reported late on Saturday that a number of US aggressor troops were wounded when an Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded on the highway near the al-Baghdadi Hall, in ar-Ramadi, west of Baghdad. The blast destroyed an American Humvee.
US aggressor troops immediately closed off the area and evacuated their wounded personnel from the scene.
Resistance bomb wounds deputy puppet “interior minister.”
An Iraqi Resistance car bomb exploded outside the home of a puppet so-called “deputy interior minister” in the American installed regime on Saturday, wounding him and members of his family. Reports said that at least eight other persons died in the powerful explosion. Reuters reported that five corpses, wrapped in sheets were laid out on the yard of the puppet official’s house. These included the bodies of four puppet policemen, as well as a female neighbor. Two cars were thrown through a wall and onto the front yard by the force of the blast. The Egyptian Middle East News Agency reported the blast, which occurred in al-Baladiyat district of Baghdad, and the announcement of it by the puppet so-called interior minister Samir as-Sumaydi‘i, who said that the bomb was delivered by an Iraqi Resistance martyrdom attacker.
Dozens of people were wounded in the powerful explosion. After the blast, puppet police then shot at the local people who gathered at the scene and then scuffled with the puppet authority figures.
‘Abd al-Jabbar Yusuf ash-Shaykhli, the puppet so-called “deputy interior minister in charge of security” was reportedly slightly injured in the forehead and right arm, according to Hasan Hadi, an official in the puppet so-called “ministy of health”. Hadi said that ash-Shaykhli was expected to leave the hospital in a short time.
Ash-Shaykhli is a member of the Shi‘i chauvinist and collaborationist Da‘wah Party, another member of which, ‘Izz ad-Din Salim, the head of the puppet so-called “interim governing council of Iraq” was blown up in a Resistance bombing on Monday.
Explosions shake Baghdad on Saturday.
Several explosions were heard Saturday in Baghdad. Iraqi guards said they believed a mortar shell had landed near the Baghdad Hotel, where US contractor profiteers and mercenaries reside. In another area of the city, a rocket struck a two-story house near the former Ministry of Information, puppet police said. There were no reports of casualties.
Eyewitnesses reported that the explosions came from the area of the US occupation headquarters, an area around the Republican Palace dubbed by the American invaders “the Green Zone.” They heard at least five explosions that sounded like the blasts of rockets or mortar shells exploding. One rocket was reported seen falling near the Euphrates River just outside the walls of the so-called “green zone.”
Mortar and rocket attacks by the Iraqi Resistance on the US aggressor headquarters are a common, nearly a daily occurrence.
Resistance bomb kills one, wounds three other US aggressor soldiers near al-Mahmudiyah.
The US aggressor forces announced early Saturday morning that the explosion of an Iraqi Resistance bomb killed one American invader soldier and wounded three others the south of Baghdad, according to a report carried by Reuters.
The US occupation forces stated that the soldiers were on patrol near the town of al-Mahmudiyah, 30km south of Baghdad when what they described as a “vehicle-borne improvised explosive device” exploded on their car. The US occupation army failed to mention precisely when this latest of the growing number of Iraqi Resistance attacks took place.
Fighting rages in an-Najaf.
In an-Najaf, south of Baghdad, fighting broke out Saturday between US aggressor forces and the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia loyal to Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr near the city’s puppet police directorate and the puppet governor’s office. In combat there Friday, a mortar round fell 10 yards from the house of pro-American Ayatallah ‘Ali al-Husayni as-Sistani. The source of the mortar round was unclear.
Karbala’ calm as offices of as-Sadr and as-Sistani report cease fire agreement with US aggressors.
In Karbala’, another holy city where the two adversaries have engaged in intense battles in recent days, officials of Shi‘i religious leaders Muqtada al-Sadr and ‘Ali al-Sistani said separately that militiamen of the Jaysh al-Mahdi and US invader forces had agreed to stop fighting there. The representatives of as-Sadr and as-Sistani declined to give their names, and there was no immediate comment from the US military authorities. But witnesses said there were no combatants on the streets of Karbala’ on Saturday.
Early Saturday, ‘Ali al-Khaz‘ali, the man in charge of the Jaysh al-Mahdi, told Agence France Presse (AFP) “we have ordered a withdrawal of the armed presence in the center of the city in anticipation of the successful conclusion of an agreement with the other [i.e., the American] side which is supposed to occur after noon today.”
US spokesman Dan Senor reflected the official American line, however, when he declared on Saturday that there “had been no contacts with as-Sadr” and that “as-Sadr must be brought to trial and the militias must be disarmed.”
Nevertheless, a spokesman for the office of Muqtada as-Sadr announced Saturday afternoon that an agreement had been reached with the US aggressors in accordance with which the US invaders and Jaysh al-Mahdi forces would withdraw from Karbala’.
A senior aide to Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr said on Saturday afternoon that the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia, loyal to as-Sadr, would end its armed presence in an-Najaf and Karbala’ as soon as they are certain that the American forces have withdrawn from the two Shi‘i holy cities.
Reuters reported Qays al-Ghazali’s remarks to the press in which he said, “we are ready to end our armed presence at the moment when the occupation forces leave the [holy] cities, and there are no guarantees, until now, that the occupation forces will not come back again to the tombs [of the Shi‘i imams].”
The US forces withdrew Friday, from the center of Karbala’, after spending several days in violent battles with the Jaysh al-Mahdi militia in the area.
Muqtada as-Sadr calls on his supporters to go on fighting against US acts of aggression against the Shi‘i holy cities.
Despite word of an agreement between the US invaders and his forces, Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr called on his supporters late Friday to continue fighting against the occupation forces even if he is killed or arrested. As-Sadr called on the Shi‘i religious authorities to take a united stance in condemning American attacks on the Shi‘i shrines in the cities of Karbala’ and an-Najaf. According to al-Jazeera TV, during his Friday sermon in al-Kufah, as-Sadr had praised Iraq’s Sunni community for its support, praising the Board of Muslim ‘Ulama’ in particular for its backing of him and his militia as it fights the occupation.
US General Kimmitt: no US withdrawal from Karbala’.
Later on Saturday night, US Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the spokesman for the American aggressor forces, and deputy commander for operations of US forces in Iraq said that the occupation forces would not withdraw from Karbala’, contrary to reports of an agreement on a mutual withdrawal reached by the Americans and the Jaysh al-Mahdi in the area.
According to al-Jazeera TV, Mark Kimmitt said that a number of US forces in the city had been redeployed, but he said, “that has no resemblance to a withdrawal, even remotely.”
US makes rush back to downtown Karbala’ just before midnight Friday.
Shortly before midnight on Saturday it was reported that US aggressor troops were concentrating a large force near the Shi‘i shrines in central Karbala’, in precisely the areas from which the Americans had withdrawn only hours before on Saturday morning. According to Agence France Presse (AFP) the US invaders were using loudspeakers to broadcast warnings in Arabic to local residents not to go out of their homes, until the Jaysh al-Mahdi is “crushed.”
Ghazwan Turki al-Jabburi, who lives in the area, said that a column of US Humvees, tanks, and armored vehicles advanced to the center of the city from three directions just before midnight. Al-Jabburi added that about 40 military vehicles were drawn up near the tombs of the imams al-Husayn and al-‘Abbas. Al-Jabburi said that the Americans were warning local residents not to go out on their roofs, not to stand near windows, but to lock their doors and not go out into the streets.
Despite the new US incursion, AFP reported that the city was still calm half an hour after the American forces drew up in the city center. Both US and Jaysh al-Mahdi forces withdrew from the downtown area of Karbala’ around midday on Saturday.
Jaysh al-Mahdi fighters from an-Nasiriyah head to Karbala’ to reinforce the militiamen there.
Aws al-Khafaji, Director of the office of Muqtada as-Sadr in an-Nasiriyah announced on Saturday that supporters of as-Sadr in his area would be heading to Karbala’ to support the Jaysh al-Mahdi fighters as they battle the US aggressors. Al-Khafaji during his Friday sermon also called on Italian aggressor troops to withdraw from an-Nasiriyah and he urged his followers to be stand particularly strongly against the Italian forces.
President of Ba‘qubah University survives assassination attempt.
In Ba‘qubah, north of Baghdad, the president of Diyala University, Khusham ‘Ata’ survived an assassination attempt on Saturday when his car came under a hail of bullets on his way to work.