Middle East News & Anwar Jumaa / Azzaman & Slaem Areef / Azzaman – 2008-05-26 23:03:10
Three Killed, Three Wounded in Iraq
Middle East News
BAHDAD (May 24, 2008) — At least three people were killed on Saturday and another three wounded in separate attacks in Iraq, media reports said.
In the Iraqi province of Nineveh, police sources told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency that members of a US patrol opened fire on civilians, killing two and wounding a child. Sources said that US forces shot at civilians after an explosive device was detonated in the Nabi Younes area in the northern city of Mosul.
No further details were mentioned about the incident, while the US military did not comment on the attack when contacted, VOI said.
In a separate incident, militants opened fire on a location of the Awakening Council in Baquba’s Had Mokasar area, killing one member, police sources told VOI.
In Baquba’s Behrez area, militants attacked another meeting point of the Awakening Council, injuring two members.
The Awakening Councils are local police squads located mainly in Sunni provinces which fight the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
US Troops Bomb Hospital and Refuse to Pay for Damages
Anwar Jumaa / Azzaman
(May 19, 2008) — Health authorities in the Province of Babylon say US troops are paying “peanuts” to cover for the extensive damage they have inflicted on the main hospital in the southern city of Hilla.
The troops say they bombed the hospital “by mistake” and they have offered $6500 as compensation.
But Mostafa al-Hiti, chairman of the Health and Environment Commission at the Iraqi Parliament, said “the money is not enough to cover for the broken class.”
Hiti said the health authorities at the hospital in the provincial canter of Hilla are determined to either get the U.S. pay for all the damage..
Still worse, Hiti, said the U.S. was offering $100 for the families and relatives of those who were injured and killed as a result of what it allegedly calls “misfire.”
Hiti gave no figure of the casualties but the money other officials described as “an insult” which has further angered the bereaved families.
Mosul a Ghost City as Troops Press ahead with Offensive
Slaem Areef / Azzaman
(May 15, 2008) — The northern city of Mosul, home to nearly three million people, is now a city of ghosts. As Iraqi troops, assisted by US marines, intensify their attacks, severe shortages of clean water, health services and essential foods have already emerged.
The attack to regain Mosul started five days ago with the expressed aim to flush out what the government describes as ‘remnants of al-Qaeda’. But the tight curfew the troops have imposed on the city has turned residents into prisoners of their homes.
Heavy clashes are taking place but the gunmen are nowhere to be seen with the streets and districts crammed with troops and military equipment and the city skies buzzing with war planes and helicopters.
Residents said the troops were making little progress due to booby traps and explosive charges the gunmen had planted in many areas.
It is almost impossible to reach hospitals as traffic apart from military vehicles is forbidden.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is personally commanding the operation which he initially code-named ‘the lion’s roar’ then changed into ‘the mother of two springs’ a nickname for Mosul know for its long and pleasant spring.
But the massive attack in which troops have been given free hand to search, arrest and storm residential areas is meeting resistance particularly from the city’s tribal leaders.
One chieftain refusing to be named said the troops had no intelligence of who the gunmen were and where they were bases. “Their arrests and raids are arbitrary,” he added.
Reports on casualties are scarce as the troops even forbid media people from moving. But military police sources said more than 500 people have been arrested on suspicions of terrorism.
Tribal leaders, many of whom have joined the U.S. funded Sahwa forces or militias, are critical, saying the attack had already led to ‘violations’ of human rights.
“We may understand why the government has imposed the curfew but it is insane to have it indefinitely at a time all public services have been suspended,” said Hussain Abdullah.
Garbage is piling up in streets and as temperatures rise there are fears of diseases spreading.
Dr. Ahmad Mahmoud of the city’s general hospital said the government should immediately exempt public service workers and activities from the curfew.
“Anyone visiting the city would doubt whether there is life in it. Massive mounds of uncollected garbage with their stinking smell are its only remaining landmarks,” said Mahmoud.
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