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Updated: Attacks soar after Sammara bombing (Civil war - is it on yet?)

Truth About Iraqis

February 22, 2006

Update 2:

Police say they have arrested 10 men dressed in commando uniforms.

I have a question. Wasn't Sammara reportedly a US success story in fighting off the "insurgents"?

This could very well be the fuse that lights it all up.

Immediate reaction to the bomb damage to a mosque, revered by the Shia community, in Sammara:

Several men have been arrested, according to the Interior Ministry.

Five policemen charged with guarding the mosque have also been detained for questioning.

A leading Sunni politician, Tariq al-Hashimi, told reporters 29 Sunni mosques had been attacked nationwide. He urged clerics and politicians to calm the situation "before it spins out of control."

Police estimated that at least 17 Sunni mosques and an office for the Iraqi Islamic Party in Baghdad were attacked by gunmen after the bomb blast in Samarra. Police said one mosque was completely burnt while others were attacked with small-arms fire and rocket prepelled grenades.

Police also reported gunmen killed a Sunni cleric of the al-Rashidi mosque in Boob al-Sham area, north of Baghdad, a police source said.

In Basra, Shiite militants traded rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire with guards at the office of the Sunni-led Iraqi Islamic Party. Smoke billowed from the building.

In Baghdad, the biggest attack against a Sunni mosque occurred in the Baladiyat area of eastern Baghdad, where about 40 Shiite militiamen sprayed the building with automatic fire. One street vendor was killed in another mosque attack.

Clashes erupted in Diwaniya after militiamen loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr attacked the houses of Arab Sunnis in Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad. One of Sadr's men was killed, said a member of the Diwaniya provincial council.

Gunmen attacked a Sunni mosque with rocket propelled grenades in Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, local police said. There were no casualties.

Local police said shootouts erupted between Sadr's militiamen and members of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Basra.

Update 1
A Shiite political leader said Wednesday that U.S. Zalmay Khalilzad shares some of the responsibility for the bombing of a major Shiite shrine because of his criticism of Shiite-led security forces.

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, cited Khalilzad's statement at a press conference Monday that America would not continue to support institutions run by sectarian groups with links to armed militias.

"For sure, the statements made by the ambassador were not made in a responsible way and he did not behave like an ambassador," al-Hakim told reporters. "These statements were the reason for more pressure and gave green lights to terrorist groups. And, therefore, he shares in part of the responsibility."

---

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq accused Iran on Monday of providing weapons, training and support to Iraqi militia and insurgent groups responsible for the country's continuing violence and instability.

At a news conference, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad criticized what he called Iran's "negative role" in Iraqi affairs, saying the country's diplomatic relationship with its neighbor was tainted by a policy "to work with militias, to work with extremist groups, to provide training and weapons."

He added that there was evidence the Iranians provided "indirect help" to Sunni Arab insurgents who attack U.S. and Iraqi government troops.

The Iranian aid was part of a "comprehensive strategy" by a "player seeking regional preeminence," he said.



(sources: Iraq independent sources, AP, Reuters, Washington Post)


:: Article nr. 20888 sent on 22-feb-2006 23:50 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=20888

Link: truth-about-iraqis.blogspot.com/2006/02/updated-attacks-soar-after-sammara.html



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