Wearing police uniforms?
Iraqi Government Declares State of Emergency
By JOHN F. BURNS and JOHN O'NEIL
Published: June 23, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 23 — The Iraqi government declared a state of emergency in Baghdad after American forces were involved in quelling a firefight in the city's center.
Elsewhere in Iraq, at least 12 people died and 24 were wounded after a bomb exploded just outside in a Sunni mosque in the village where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed. And at least 10 people were killed by a car bomb in the southern city of Basra, news services reported.
The American military announced today that a Marine was killed on Wednesday during combat operations in al-Anbar province, and that a soldier in Baghdad had died the same day in an incident unrelated to fighting.
The gunfight today broke out in Baghdad as members of the Mahdi Army militia moved in force to escort the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to a Shiite mosque in a Sunni neighborhood. During last week's Friday services, a suicide bomber carrying explosives in his shoes blew himself up in a crowd of worshippers at the Baratha mosque, killing 11 and wounding 25.
Four members of the militia were killed when gunmen opened fire on the Mahdi Army convoy, in fighting involving guns and mortars that left eight of the group's vehicles ablaze, an official with the Interior Ministry said.
Iraqi and American troops rushed to the scene, and three Iraqi police officers and five Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the fighting, Reuters said. Televised images showed American helicopters swooping low to drop flares over the midday battle.
The government responded to the outbreak by ordering a sudden curfew, extending from 2 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Saturday, sending Baghdad residents scrambling to get home in time. Normally, vehicle traffic is banned in the city from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, to prevent repetitions of earlier car bomb attacks on the crowds attending Friday services.
And Iraqi forces today found five bullet-riddled bodies of factory workers who had been seized on Wednesday by a large group of gunmen, the Associated Press reported.
The gunmen had released all the workers they believed to be Sunni, along with a number of women and children, and 17 more were rescued by Iraqi police on Thursday on a raid on a farm north of Baghdad. After the five bodies were found today, about 30 people remain missing from the Wednesday incident.
The abduction, involving 40 or 50 gunmen, some wearing police uniforms, represented a sharp intensification of a tactic that has become increasingly common in Iraq.
The gunmen arrived at the factory, in northwestern Baghdad, in a large number of minibuses. They herded workers and their family members at gunpoint onto buses owned by the manufacturing company, which are ordinarily used to transport workers to Shiite neighborhoods around Baghdad, according to Iraqi officials and a bus driver who escaped.
Let's stop pretending. The Kerensky government of Iraq cannot stop anything, for any reason. They just can't stop it. Wearing police uniforms? Try police. These people are tied to militias and act accordingly.
Our government in Iraq is no government.
posted by Steve @ 10:28:00 AM