Iraq to begin arms amnesty

October 18th, 2004  
Duty Honor Country

Topic: Iraq to begin arms amnesty

Monday October 18, 2004

Iraq's national security adviser today announced plans for the start of a national arms amnesty aimed at stopping the flow of weapons to anti-government forces.
Kassim Daoud told the Reuters news agency that the amnesty would be introduced next week, following on from a local arms collection drive already under way in Sadr City, a Baghdad stronghold of Shia Muslim militants.

"Next week, we will announce a nationwide arms collection drive," Mr Daoud said, adding that the deadline for the current amnesty in Sadr City would be extended to Thursday.

"There are many people with weapons who want to hand them over in Sadr City, so we decided to extend the deadline. It would not be fair to search houses now when these people have not had enough time to turn over their weapons," he said.

Militants loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr were locked in combat with US troops in Sadr City until an arms buy-back deal was reached last week.

The interim Iraqi government is also attempting to pacify the rebel-held western city of Falluja ahead of elections, which are scheduled to take place in January.

Government officials have threatened to launch a major military offensive if Falluja fails to hand over the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his followers in the Tawhid and Jihad group.

The city's residents say they have seen no evidence that Zarqawi has a network in the city, and US air strikes have enraged the population.

When asked what proof the government had that Zarqawi has followers and bases in Falluja, Mr Daoud told Reuters: "There are many of his followers, jihadists [holy warriors]. The proof is there."

He would not be drawn on when an offensive would be launched if Zarqawi was not handed over, saying: "We have a timetable and we will stick to it."

In the latest violence in Iraq, five Iraqis were killed and 15 injured when a car bomb exploded in the northern city of Mosul today.

The US military said the driver of the car had crashed into another vehicle on a bridge. Several nearby vehicles were destroyed in the explosion.

Another nine people were injured when a police patrol was ambushed in Baquba, around 35 miles north of Baghdad. Seven of the injured were policemen and the other two were civilians, Lieutenant Ziyad Tareq, one of the officers who was hurt in the attack, said.,00.html


This should have been done LONG AGO!!!!