Monday, December 18, 2006

December 18th News In English From Aswat Al Iraq Together With Western Agency Reports

Aswat al Iraq | Iraq-Security (Highlights) | Security developments in Iraq on Monday :

Baghdad, Dec 18, (VOI) - Main security developments in Iraq on Monday:

  1. Baghdad - Five civilians were killed and 19 others wounded when a car bomb exploded in a popular market in southern Baghdad, a security source said.
  2. Baghdad - Five Iraqi civilians were wounded in an explosive charge blast in a southern Baghdad vegetable market, while an employee was killed and his colleague was injured when a bomb planted in their official car went off, a security source said.
  3. Baghdad - Seventeen out of total 30 persons kidnapped on Sunday from an Iraqi Red Crescent Society building were released, the Society secretary general said.
  4. Baghdad - Three Iraqi policemen were wounded when an explosive charge went off at their patrol in central Baghdad, a police source said.
  5. Mosul - Unidentified gunmen killed a member of Basra provincial council, a Ninawa police source said.
  6. Baghdad - One U.S. Marine was killed in military operations in the western Iraqi province of Anbar on Saturday, the U.S. army in Iraq said.
  7. Basra - Katyusha rockets were fired on two British bases in the southern Iraqi city of Basra without causing any damage, the Multi-National forces spokesman in south Iraq said.

Note 1: It seems to me to be unbelievable that I have to say this. But it looks like I do have to say it after we got some emails asking. Can I say to our readers that the Red Crescent is the same organisation as the Red Cross is. In Western countries it is called "Red Cross" in Muslim countries it is called "Red Crescent."

[Note 2: In the story about tattoos below. I have told by all of them that I have permission to say that Every Iraqi member of this blog both the writers and the moderators have one of these tattoos.

Laith who is an Imam tells me that in Islam tattoos are normally considered to be very wrong because you should not defile your body. But in the circumstances in Iraq it is necessary and permitted because people who are kidnapped are often mutilated very horribly while they are being tortured. These include burning, pouring over over of acid, drilling, flaying. So the tattoos are in places where the kidnappers/death squad members/green zone government police/alia et varia ..... do not usually touch. I will add that Dubhaltach also has one and that I cried very much when I saw it. I don't know if Gor has one I am pretty certain he does. - Erdla]


Erdla


Aswat al Iraq | Baghdad-Release | Seventeen of Iraqi Red Crescent abducted people released - official:

Family of one of Red Crescent kidnapped workersFamily members of one of the kidnapped Red Crescent workers. He has NOT been released

Baghdad, Dec 18, (VOI) - Seventeen out of a total 30 persons kidnapped on Sunday from an Iraqi Red Crescent Society building were released, the Society secretary general said on Monday.

"Seventeen, including 13 Society workers, two visitors and two guards of the Dutch embassy, were released on Monday," said Mazen Abdullah Salloum.
"It was not known so far which organization kidnapped them, why or the place to which they were led because those freed said they were blindfolded all the time," Salloum told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

A branch office of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society has come under mass kidnapping on Sunday by armed men clad in Iraqi security uniforms.
Officials in the non-government organization put at 30 the number of kidnapped persons, mostly employees and guards of the Society, said Salloum, denying that the incident was sectarian-motivated.

He said all employees working in the Society offices belong to all religions and ethnicities with instructions months ago to ban the use of family or clan title in employees' names.

Baghdad has been a recent stage of mass kidnappings including scores of merchants and shop owners in the area of al-Sink in central Baghdad last week.
Mohammed al-Askari, the defense ministry spokesman, in a press conference earlier on Monday, termed the Sink operation as "heinous" and said it "aimed at intimidating the citizens and workers and cut their relations with their departments."

Askari said security authorities managed to identify the organizations behind these operations.

"We believe that perpetrators of these operations are certain groups that only want to paralyze life in the state institutions," said Askari.
AE

Reuters AlertNet - Red Crescent halts Baghdad work after abduction:

BAGHDAD, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The Iraqi Red Crescent suspended operations in Baghdad after gunmen in police uniforms kidnapped about 30 people from one of its offices in the capital on Sunday, an official of the humanitarian body said on Monday.

"We have suspended our operations in Baghdad until all the hostages are released," Maazen Abdullah, secretary-general of the Iraqi Red Crescent, told Reuters. Gunmen have released 17 hostages, most of them employees, Abdullah said.

The Red Crescent, which works in Iraq with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has 40 offices in Baghdad. Work will continue in its other offices, Abdullah said.

In the latest mass kidnapping that highlighted lawlessness in Baghdad, gunmen wearing police uniforms stormed the branch of the Red Crescent office in central Karrada, separated men from women and took hostages.

Iraq's capital is plagued by daily kidnappings, many of which are carried out by armed groups on either side of the communal conflict between majority Shi'ites and Sunni Arabs.

The Red Crescent has said it has felt pressure from militant groups, but Abdullah said he did not know why the organisation's employees were abducted. The two-storey Red Crescent office is identified by the Red Crescent emblem.

The ICRC has called for the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages.

"Iraqi Red Crescent workers provide vital help for all Iraqis in need. They do so with devotion and with humanity. They must be respected and supported, not harmed," ICRC director of operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl said in a statement.

The Iraqi Red Crescent, the only Iraqi aid agency working in Iraq's 18 provinces, has 1,000 staff and 200,000 volunteers. (Writing by Ibon Villelabeitia, editing by Elizabeth Piper: Baghdad newsroom))

Aswat al Iraq | Baghdad-Carbomb | Five Iraqis killed, 19 wounded in Baghdad car bombing:

Baghdad-Carbomb

Five Iraqis killed, 19 wounded in Baghdad car bombing By Adel Fakher

Baghdad, Dec 18, (VOI) - Five civilians were killed and 19 others wounded on Monday when a car bomb exploded in a popular market in southern Baghdad, a security source said.

The explosive-rigged car was set off by remote control in a market in al-Sidiya district, the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
"There are women and children among the victims," he said. Several shops were also damaged in the blast.
Earlier in Monday, Baghdad witnessed several blasts that claimed ten casualties

Aswat al Iraq | Samarrai-Escape-Update 1 | Former Iraqi minister Samarrai escapes prison - TV | By Kawthar Abdul-Amir :

Samarrai-Escape-Update 1
Former Iraqi minister Samarrai escapes prison - TV
By Kawthar Abdul-Amir
(Adds background)

Baghdad, Dec 18, (VOI) - Iraqi former electricity minister Ayham al-Samarrai escaped from his prison, al-Iraqiya state TV said on Monday. Samarrai was sentenced in October 2006 to two years in prison for negligence and squandering public money. He holds the U.S. nationality. Samarrai held the post of electricity minister in former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's government.

The integrity commission has said Samarrai would also stand trial on other charges. After he was sentenced, Samarrai said the court ruling was a political one because he called for starting a dialogue with Iraqi resistance groups.

Aswat al Iraq | Mosul-Tattoo (Feature) | Tattoos...Iraqis' post-death IDs | By Ibrahim Zannun:

Mosul-Tattoo (Feature) Tattoos...Iraqis' post-death IDs By Ibrahim Zannun

Mosul, Dec 18, (VOI) - Naji Qassem revealed his shoulder to his cousin Salah with a grin of satisfaction on his face about what he has done.
Qassem went in the morning with a friend to have his shoulder tattooed with his personal data - full name, address and telephone number.
Salah did not feel well about this but he knows his cousin was afraid to be buried in a strangers' graveyard if he was ever found dumped in a street a headless corpse.

Qassem and others like him who became accustomed to scenes and news of slaughters and killings enmeshed the Iraqis - with bodies mostly found on the roads without heads or in refuse dumps - had no other way to avoid burial in strangers' cemeteries but getting tattooed so that their bodies would be easy to identify after death.

Abu Waddah, a simple employee in the city of Mosul, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI): "My family has been searching for my brother and three cousins for 16 months now after they went to Baghdad for some administrative paperwork."

"There was no word about them and we could not even find their bodies," he said, adding "all male members of the family reacted by having their arms tattooed with their personal data, which was the least we could do."

Osama Khalil, a day laborer, said there were bodies that were not decapitated but had their faces disfigured with nitric acid.
"The fear conquering our hearts made us think of tattoos to use as a means of identification," said Khalil.

Mohammed Basil, a seller of mobile phones, said the problem is "we abandoned all hopes for a peaceful life. We have got to admit that death is expected at any moment, but all that we wish is to have our lifeless bodies identified so that our folks bury us and visit our graves. Tattoos have become necessary these days."
Yassin Nejm, a merchant, said his wife begged him to get tattooed in light of the growing unstoppable killings.

"I have nine children, the youngest of whom is only four months, and I wish to have my grave known to them so that they may visit me, and that is why I resorted to tattoo," said Nejm.

Saeed Khalaf, a tattooist, said most of the customers asked him to have their names and the phone numbers of three or four relatives tattooed.
"Appointments are set for customers because demand is growing over tattoos and most of the customers want tattoos as a way to have their corpses easily identified," said Khalaf.

Dr. Maher Abdul-Aziz, a dermatologist, told VOI that tattoos pose a threat to man's health particularly with the use of those old-fashioned ways as needles used to make tattoos are poorly sterilized.

"This could cause viral hepatitis, psoriasis or skin cancer and in some cases tattooed people are threatened with toxemia and eventually had their shoulder, leg or any other tattooed body part amputated," explained Dr. Abdul-Aziz.

Despite all these risks, most Iraqis who resort to tattoos have nothing else to do. The tough conditions in their country brought them to think of post-death time for they believe that death is coming anyway and that tattoos could serve then as IDs.


Aswat al Iraq | Baghdad-Explosions | Seven casualties in two blasts in Baghdad :

Baghdad-Explosions
Seven casualties in two blasts in Baghdad
By Adel Fakher

Baghdad, Dec 18, (VOI) - Five Iraqi civilians were wounded on Monday in an explosive charge blast in a southern Baghdad vegetable market, while an employee was killed and his colleague was injured when a bomb planted in their official car went off, a security source said.

"An explosive charge planted in Alwat al-Rasheed wholesale market in southern Baghdad went off, wounding five civilians and slightly damaging several produce shops," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

In eastern Baghdad, the source said, a bomb planted by unidentified people in a car used by the electricity ministry employees went off on Monday morning in Palestine Street, killing one employee and wounding another, the source said.

The car was badly damaged.

The source said that security forces immediately cordoned off the area and carried the wounded employee to al-Kindi nearby hospital.
Earlier in Monday, three policemen were wounded in a roadside bomb explosion that targeted their patrol car.

Aswat al Iraq | U.S. Marine killed in Anbar:

Baghdad, Dec 18, (VOI) - One U.S. Marine was killed in military operations in the western Iraqi province of Anbar, the U.S. army in Iraq said on Monday.
"One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Dec. 16 from wounds sustained due to… action while operating in Al Anbar Province," the army said in a statement received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

The army reported on Sunday that three soldiers were killed and a fourth was wounded in a bomb explosion that targeted their patrol north of Baghdad.
The latest deaths raise to 2,947 the number of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, including 57 killed during this month.

Aswat al Iraq | Iraq's problems to be solved by linking security to political course - Talabani:

Baghdad, Dec 18, (VOI) - Iraqi President Jalal al-Talabani told a visiting U.S. Congress delegation on Sunday that the solution to Iraq's problems should be through linking security to the political course.
Talabani received on Sunday members of the U.S. Congress delegation at his residence in the capital Baghdad, read a statement issued by the presidency and received by the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Among the members was Senator John Kerry, the former Democratic Party U.S. presidential candidate.
The American delegation had arrived in Baghdad Sunday on a previously unannounced visit to Iraq, coinciding with a visit by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Earlier, the delegation met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The statement pointed out that Talabani has offered the delegation members "a detailed explanation on the current situation in the country and developments of the political process aimed at entrenching democracy there (and briefed them on) efforts to set up a front encompassing all powers that believe in the march of democracy" in Iraq.
The Congress delegation "highly appreciated President Talabani's role in pushing forward the political process in Iraq and pro-reconciliation stance."
Talabani, in a joint press conference with Blair on Sunday, said the prevailing orientation in Iraq now "is heading towards national reconciliation and rapprochement."
AE

Reports From Western Agencies:
McClatchy LATEST IRAQ HEADLINES

  • Roundup of violence in Iraq - 16 December - 12/16/2006 11:57 PM EST

    The daily Iraq violence report is compiled by McClatchy Newspapers Special Correspondent Mohammed al Awsy in Baghdad from police, military and medical reports. This is not a comprehensive list of all violence in Iraq, much of which goes unreported. It's posted without editing as transmitted to McClatchy's Washington Bureau.
  • Al-Maliki reaches out to the country's Sunni minority - 12/16/2006 05:25 PM EST

    Iraq's Shiite Muslim Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Saturday announced that his government would open its doors to some former members of Saddam Hussein's predominantly Sunni Baath Party.
  • Roundup of violence in Iraq - 15 December - 12/15/2006 05:48 PM EST

    The daily Iraq violence report is compiled by McClatchy Newspapers Special Correspondent Mohammed al Awsy in Baghdad from police, military and medical reports. This is not a comprehensive list of all violence in Iraq, much of which goes unreported. It's posted without editing as transmitted to McClatchy's Washington Bureau.
  • New commander in Iraq has a reputation for aggressive action - 12/14/2006 06:37 PM EST

    Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, who became the No. 2 U.S. military commander in Iraq on Thursday, is returning to a country that's fundamentally different from the one he left two years ago.
  • Gunmen kidnap shopkeepers, bystanders in Baghdad - 12/14/2006 06:35 PM EST

    Kadhim Mahdi ran a lucrative carpentry business in west Baghdad, but he closed his shop when clashes and car bombs shut down his neighborhood.

Red Crescent stops work in Baghdad after kidnap - AFP Yahoo! News:

by Jennie Matthew 1 hour, 59 minutes ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraqi Red Crescent aid workers have suspended work in war-torn Baghdad after two dozen of their colleagues fell victim to the latest mass kidnap to shock a city plagued by sectarian violence.

[snip]

"We have frozen or stopped temporarily activities in Baghdad, but this is not affecting civilian needs. This was logical because our main staff is still kidnapped," the Iraqi Red Crescent's secretary general Mazen Abdallah said Monday.

"We are the only organisation working in all of
Iraq. We don't want to stop," he added, emphasising that the closure applied only to the capital.

In addition to the main branch targeted in the kidnapping, the Iraqi Red Crescent has closed another 40 subsidiary offices in Baghdad, affecting more than 600 staff, a large proportion of them security guards, Abdallah said.

Seventeen of more than 30 men snatched in Sunday's brazen raid by gunmen dressed in police uniforms have been released, including three guards from the nearby Dutch embassy and 10 Red Crescent guards and drivers, Abdallah added.

But 19 Red Crescent staff -- a mixed group of Shiite and Sunni disaster, relief and health workers -- are still missing following what was the second mass abduction to terrorise Baghdad in less than a week.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, part of the same movement, has called for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages, and condemned the kidnapping as a breach of international humanitarian law.

Fully aware of the ugly sectarian tensions threatening to rip Iraq apart, Abdallah said he ordered his staff not to reveal their family names while at work, in order not to disclose their religious or ethnic backgrounds.

Reuters AlertNet - FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, Dec 18:

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Following are security and other developments in Iraq as of 1945 GMT on Monday:

* denotes new or updated item.

  1. * BAGHDAD - One U.S. soldier was killed and another injured when a Bradley armoured vehicle rolled over during a patrol north of Baghdad on Monday, the U.S. military said, adding that the cause of the incident was under investigation.
  2. * TIKRIT - Iraqi and U.S. forces backed by U.S. air strikes killed eight suspected insurgents last Thursday after they came under fire from a house during a patrol east of Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Monday.
  3. BAGHDAD - Gunmen killed a woman and wounded two when they attacked a group of female staff at the Ministry of Education in Amil district in southwestern Baghdad, police said.
  4. BAGHDAD - A car bomb at the entrance of a wholesale vegetable market killed five people and wounded 19 in the southern Saidiya district of Baghdad, police said. A car bomb at a wholesale vegetable market in southern Doura district wounded seven people, police said.
  5. JURF AL-SAKHAR - The U.S. military said it detained 18 suspected insurgents on Sunday and seized a weapons cache after searching a house near Jurf al-Sakhar, a town 85 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad.
  6. NEAR KIRKUK - A roadside bomb attack on a police patrol wounded two policemen on the main road between Tuz Khurmatu and Kirkuk, police said.
  7. BAGHDAD - Gunmen who kidnapped about 30 people at a Red Crescent office in Baghdad on Sunday have freed 17 hostages, Mazen Abdullah, secretary general of the Iraqi Red Crescent, said on Monday. The group suspended operations in Baghdad.
  8. BAGHDAD - The Iraqi army arrested 40 insurgents during the last 24 hours in different parts of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said.
  9. KIRKUK - Gunmen killed a policeman on his way to work in the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
  10. DOUR - Gunmen kidnapped three truck drivers and set their trucks on fire in the town of Dour, near Tikrit, police said.
  11. MOSUL - Gunmen killed Khaireddine al-Dabagh, a member of the city council in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
  12. SAMARRA - Gunmen kidnapped police Captain Nihad Khalid, head of emergency police in Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, after storming his house, police said. A curfew was imposed afterwards in the city.
  13. BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb wounded seven people when it exploded in a wholesale vegetable market in the southern Doura district of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.
  14. BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded three policemen near the Technology University in central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.
  15. BAGHDAD - A bomb planted in a car carrying Electricity Ministry officials killed the driver and wounded two in eastern Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.
  16. HAWIJA - A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded another in the town of Hawija, 70 km (40 miles) south west of Kirkuk, police said.
  17. ANBAR - A U.S. soldier was killed in combat on Saturday in Anbar Province, the U.S. military said. Earlier the military had described the dead serviceman as a Marine.
  18. RAMADI - One insurgent and a civilian were killed in clashes between U.S. forces and insurgents on Saturday in the restive city of Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
  19. TIKRIT - Iraqi and U.S. security forces arrested a suspected weapons smuggler on Sunday in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
  20. FALLUJA - Iraqi and U.S. security forces arrested a suspected forger accused of supplying insurgents with fake identity documents on Sunday in Falluja, 50 km (35 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Monday.
  21. BAGHDAD - U.S. forces detained five insurgents on Saturday in two separate incidents in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Monday.

Terror threat raised by Iraq war - Yahoo! News:

Terror threat raised by Iraq war

Mon Dec 18, 9:51 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - Britain would face a lower terrorist threat if the
Iraq war had not "gone so badly wrong", a former top intelligence advisor has said.


Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, former chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), said Prime Minister
Tony Blair's government had been slow to realise the dangers of extremists after the 2003 war.

"There comes a time when you do have to recognise the realities rather frankly -- you cannot move forward unless you do," Neville-Jones, who was JIC chair from 1993-1994, told the Evening Standard newspaper Monday.

"I think it is the case that the terrorist threat to this country would not have been so great, firstly if we had recognised the seriousness of the threat earlier and, secondly, if the Iraq intervention had not gone so badly wrong."

Blair and other ministers have vigorously denied any link between Britain's foreign policy and terror attacks on Britain.

Neville-Jones, an former senior diplomat, is currently heading a group charged by the leader of the main opposition Conservatives, David Cameron, with looking at the party's security policies.

"We will find it difficult to serve our interests, or those of America, if we are regarded as their mute partner in every foreign undertaking," said the group's first report, published Monday.

Erdla

Links to "December 18th News In English From Aswat Al Iraq Together With Western Agency Reports"

Create a Link