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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

8 Iraqis Killed in War Attacks, 100 Bodies in Mass Grave, Al-Sadr Announces his own Isolation, Basrans Protest Security Deterioration, According to March 8, 2008 News Reports reported the following news today:

- 4 bodies of Iraqis executed by death squads were found in Baghdad.
- 100 bodies of Iraqis executed by death squads were found in a mass grave in Al-Khalis.
- A US soldier was killed, another was injured during fighting on Friday, in Diala, which brings the official number of US soldiers killed in Iraq to 3,975 (This figure does not include those who died after injury or those who are not officially considered as soldiers, like members of security companies).
- US forces, assisted by the Kurdish Beshmerga militia, US-backed Badr militia, and Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen in Iraq are preparing to invade Mosul to subjugate it and kill former Iraqi army senior officers in the city.

The Iraq News Agency (INA) reported that Muqtada Al-Sadr announced his own isolation from the Iraqi political scene. He explained it by his desire to study more. However, Aljazeera tv reported that Al-Sadr was forced to leave the scene by US and US-backed politicians because of his inability to reign in his militiamen in a way that pleases US and US-backed Iraqi politicians.

9 al-Qaeda gunmen killed or captured in central, northern Iraq
Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Saturday , 08 /03 /2008  Time 8:38:06
Baghdad, Mar 8, (VOI)

U.S. forces killed a gunman belonging to al-Qaeda and arrested eight others in operations on Saturday that aimed to disrupt the armed group's network in central and northern Iraq, the U.S. army said. AE

 IED attack in Diala leaves 8 casualties
Diala - Voices of Iraq
Saturday , 08 /03 /2008  Time 8:38:06
Diala, Mar 8, (VOI)

Two civilians were killed and six others wounded on Saturday when an improvised explosive device targeted a civilian vehicle in a village of the al-Muqdadiya district, 45 km northeast of Baaquba, a security source said.

"An IED went off near a civilian vehicle in al-Khammar village, killing two people and wounding six others," the source, who asked not to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq Voices of Iraq (VOI).
The source did not give further details.

Ba'aqouba, the capital of the restive city of Diala, lies 57 km north of Baghdad. AE

Blast kills anti-Qaeda fighter, wounds four in Hawija
Kirkuk - Voices of Iraq
Saturday , 08 /03 /2008  Time 8:38:06
Hawija, Mar 8, (VOI)-

At least one anti-Qaeda (US-recruited Sahwa) fighter was killed and four more were wounded on Saturday as a roadside bomb detonated near their patrol in Hawija district, 70 km southwest of Kirkuk, a police source said. 

"The explosion took place while al-Sahwa fighters were carrying out a patrol in al-Askari quarter in central Hawija," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq Voices of Iraq- (VOI).

Basrans protest security deterioration
Basra - Voices of Iraq
Saturday , 08 /03 /2008  Time 8:38:06
Basra, Mar 8, (VOI)

Hundreds of supporters of (US-backed) Shi'i leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim's Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and Badr Organization gathered in front of the Basra police command on Saturday to call for an end to killings, assassinations and kidnappings that, according to an SIIC source, "have been on the rise lately."

"Basran families are stricken by fear over their children and girls in a province that enjoys neither security nor stability and where overt, not just covert, killings have been increasing," Adnan al-Yasseri told Aswat al-Iraq Voices of Iraq (VOI).

The oil-rich port city of Basra, 590 km south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, has recently witnessed killings and kidnappings, the recent of which the assassination of the al-Nassiriya inspector general and three of his escorts.

"We support the application of law on everyone and demand security agencies to be more active to curb these crimes and if they can't do this, they should make way for replacements," Yasseri said.

The Basra police chief, Maj. General Abdul-Jalil Khalaf, told VOI over the phone that demonstrations "are a civilized phenomenon and everyone's legitimate right. The demands to stop crime and apply the law are agreed by everyone."

"However, there are organizations that try to have me and operations room chief sacked from our posts before the forthcoming local elections. We are independents and do not favor one side to another," Khalaf explained.

He revealed a plan he proposed to stop security deterioration.
"The plan I am drawing up provides that all weapons possessed by the parties, the clans and the militias should be handed over to security agencies," he said, noting "unemployment in Basra, which exceeds 50%, has to be ended and the investors and companies willing to work in Iraq have to be protected through stopping attacks on the Basra Airport."

"These attacks do not harm the British forces because their outposts are fortified," said Khalaf.
British soldiers were stationed in one base - the Basra International Airport, 25 km northeast of the province - after handing over the former presidential palaces, which they took as a military base, to the Iraqi forces.

The British forces in keep 5,250 troops within the MNF in Iraq after withdrawing 1,600 soldiers during the past months.

Britain was the United States' prime ally in the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Ceremonies to hand over security responsibilities in Basra province from the British forces to the Iraqi authorities took place at the Basra International Airport in December 2007.

The Basra police chief said his plan also involved the need to control the borders with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and, in particular, Iran to "deny access to arms smuggling and infiltrators".


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