News, March 2008
18 Iraqis Killed, 100 Injured, in Clashes Between Mahdi Militiamen and Iraqi Forces, Sadrists Declare Civil Disobedience, US Forces Surround Sadr City
Sadrist bloc suspends participation in
The leader of the Sadrist bloc in the Iraqi
parliament announced on Tuesday that his bloc will stop attending the
legislative meetings until the military operation against its elements
Sadrist officials called on Monday for an open-ended civil disobedience, which has already begun in the western Baghdad neighborhoods of al-Shurta, al-Bayya, al-Amil, and al-Risala.
Nassar al-Rubaei had said earlier that Sadrists expanded the civil disobedience they started to include all provinces.
He called on citizens to support this disobedience, demanding that the government implement the Sadrists' demands.
Basra has been a hotbed of fierce armed confrontations since yesterday between security forces and armed groups, during which 15 civilians were killed and 100 others were wounded.
For his part, lawmaker Ahmad al-Masoudi from the
Sadrist bloc told the VOI that "the bloc decided not to attend today's
session as a sign of protest against targeting civilians and arresting
campaigns against Sadrists throughout Iraq."
"There would be other options if the government
failed to respond to these demands," said Saadi, not determining the
nature of these "options."
U.S. forces surround Sadr city
U.S. forces surrounded Sadr city, eastern
Baghdad, while the Baghdad Operations Command imposed a curfew on it as
of this afternoon until Wednesday morning, the official spokesman for
the Baghdad's operations said on Tuesday.
Atta did not mention any further details.
Power went off at some parts of Sadr city, while
people there rushed to buy foodstuff preparing for security
He added "People are afraid that U.S. forces may conduct wide-scale attacks and raid operations in the city."
VOI contacted Abdul Latef Ryan, media counselor
of Multi national forces (MNF) in Iraq, to comment on this issue, but he
said that MNF will issue a release in this regard.
Sadrists expand civil disobedience to all
Sadrists expanded the civil disobedience they started to include all provinces, the spokesman for the Sadrist bloc said on Tuesday.
"The Sadrist bloc announced the expansion of the civil
disobedience to include all provinces in Iraq," Nassar al-Rubaei said at
a press conference held in Baghdad.
Sadrist officials called on Monday for an open-ended
civil disobedience, which has already begun in the western Baghdad
neighborhoods of al-Shurta, al-Bayya, al-Amil, and al-Risala.
"There would be other options if the government failed
to respond to these demands," said Saadi, not determining the nature of
"Stores closed down, schooling stopped, and service
departments are off in and around al-Jihad neighborhood," a local
resident of al-Jihad told VOI.
"Sunni Muslims took part in the protest in solidarity
with the Sadrists, whose neighborhoods are targets for detentions and
raids," a local resident of al-Aamil neighborhood said.
18 people killed, 100 wounded in Basra
as clashes continue
Medical sources in Basra city said on Tuesday
that the hospitals there received more than 18 corpses, three of them
were for police elements, since a wide-range security plan was imposed
in the city yesterday.
A few hours after the implementation of the
Iraqi government's security plan in Basra, Cavalries' Attack, on Monday
evening, fierce clashes erupted in almost all areas of the city and its
suburbs after midnight, between security forces and gunmen, causing
casualties and injuries, according to eyewitnesses.
Another health source in Basra told VOI on
condition of anonymity "Sadr hospital received on Tuesday three
A release issued by the National Defense Center
imposed a curfew on the city until further announcement.
He added "three people that work for the al-Gzeza
gasoline station were wounded."
One of the eyewitnesses asserted that an
artillery' shell hit a residential house, but without knowing the
In al-Tmaima neighborhood (city center),
considered the gunmen's stronghold in Basra, eyewitnesses said to VOI
that a big force, supported by jet fighters and helicopters, surrounded
the area, and started an operation to control the neighborhood after
Another eyewitness said that gunmen currently
control al-Kuwait Street, and are using tall buildings there as
"I heard the sounds of jet fighters bombarding
some targets," the eyewitness said.
He added "gunmen forced tanks and Hummer
vehicles to withdraw from the main street, and they devastated some of
them, setting them on fire."
In al-Garma area (15 km north of Basra city),
VOI's reporter witnessed heavy clashes between gunmen and guards of
Basra gate, using light weapons and RPG7 missiles.
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