Violence spreading

Zeyad's latest...


Fierce fighting has been going on in several areas of Baghdad for the last 4 hours. I was supposed to leave for Basrah this morning, as soon as I walked out of the front door I was face to face with ten or so hooded men dressed in black carrying Ak-47's and RPG's. They had set up a checkpoint right in front of our door.

Someone barked at me to go inside. Nabil was also about to leave for his school. His driver had just called him and said that he was turned back at the street entrance by another checkpoint. We looked at the main intersection and it was swarming with armed men running about and motioning drivers and pedestrians to leave the area.


UPDATE: I had to sleep during the day since I was up all night yesterday. The fighting hasn't ceased yet. I woke up several times to hear nearby explosions and then I drift back to sleep.

Just in case you were wondering. Yes, we did contact the police in our neighbourhood using the public phone numbers they had given out a couple of months ago. Guess what? They were surrounded by insurgents and couldn't do anything about it. In Adhamiya, the police station was set on fire and four policemen were killed in the fighting, the rest seem to have left their posts. The National Guard base in Saddam's former palace near the Adhamiya bridge was also under attack for the whole day.

Relatives calling us from other areas confirmed that the clashes erupted all at once around 6:30 am indicating that this was a coordinated movement. Many say this was in response to the incident yesterday at the Abu Hanifa mosque in Adhamiya which is a sacred Sunni shrine. Apparently storming the mosque during the friday prayers has provoked Arab and Muslim clerics to call for Jihad yet again. Qardhawi reiterated his call for Jihad in Iraq yesterday on Al-Jazeera describing it as a "religious duty", and the International Union of Muslim Scholars based in Pakistan has also called all Muslims to head to Iraq for Jihad.

One can't help but notice that the clerics who usually incite holy wars in Iraq against the US occupation on the expense of Iraqis are based in countries allied to the US such as Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On the other hand, you have Sheikh Salah Al-Din Kuftaro, son of Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro, the late Grand Mufti of Syria, publicly denouncing the behaviour of Iraqi insurgents yesterday during Friday prayers at the Kuftaro mosque in Damascus. He described them as the "present day Kharijites" and their actions as "unislamic".

Fierce fighting continues to spread and erupt


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