Violence rages on as Iraq celebrates Al-Qaeda capture




 
--
Boots
 
September 4th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Violence rages on as Iraq celebrates Al-Qaeda capture


Media: AFP
Byline: Dave Clark
Date: September 4, 2006


BAGHDAD, Sept 4, 2006 (AFP) - Bombers struck a police patrol in central
Baghdad on Monday as Iraq's embattled government celebrated the arrest of an
alleged terror kingpin accused of triggering a sectarian war.

Meanwhile a war of words continued between the Iraqi government and Kurdish
leaders, who have refused to fly the national flag in their autonomous
region.

Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Abdelkarim Khalaf told AFP
that three officers were critically wounded in the attack in Al-Wabhiq
Square in the largely Shiite and Christian district of Karrada.

Violence also continued just north of the capital in Diyala province, which
is in the grip of a vicious turf-war between rival Sunni and Shiite
factions. At least one civilian was shot dead and five more wounded, police
said.

The violence, which was low-key by Iraq's bloody standards, followed the
arrest of a man described by Iraqi officials as the number two figure in the
Sunni militant movement Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"This is a very important development," deputy prime minister Barham Saleh
said Sunday in an interview with CNN.

"Deliberate intelligence work both by Iraqi forces as well as multinational
forces has dealt a very severe blow to the Al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq.

"And it is also significant because this man is believed to have been
responsible for the attack on the shrines in Samarra, which led to the
sectarian violence that we have seen," he said.

In February, extremists demolished the golden dome of a revered Shiite
shrine, triggering a series of sectarian reprisals which have pushed Iraq to
the brink of all-out civil war.

Alongside that conflict, Sunni insurgents have continued to target the
US-led coalition forces protecting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's
government.

Two US marines died Sunday after "enemy action" in the western province of
Al-Anbar, a bastion of the Sunni insurgency, the military said.

The latest deaths brought the US military's losses in Iraq since the March
2003 invasion to 2,647, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.


At the same time, tempers frayed on Iraq's other main faultline -- the
divide between Arab leaders in Baghdad and the Kurdish minority in the
north.

Last week, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region, Massud Barzani,
set off a war of words when he banned the use of the Iraqi banner, branding
it a symbol of ousted leader Saddam Hussein's hated regime.

Maliki responded with an order that the national flag should fly until
Iraq's parliament, which is to reconvene on Tuesday after a recess, decides
on a new symbol on which the whole country can agree.

Barzani's response was uncompromising, and raised the spectre of resurgent
separatist feelings among the Kurds.

"This flag of chauvinism will not be hoisted on Kurdish land in Iraq. The
procedure all over the world is that when a dictatorial regime is abolished,
all that is related to it should also be abolished," he said.

"This has happened across the world, and we do not know who decided that the
present flag be the flag of Iraq. Was it decided by the parliament or by the
cabinet?" he asked, according to a statement from his office.

Attempting to play honest broker, Iraq's Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani,
weighed into the debate, supporting Barzani's opposition to the old banner
but calling for patience while a new one is adopted.

"The Iraqi flag to be adopted by the Iraqi parliament in accordance with the
constitution will be a holy and glorified one, recognized by all," he said.
 


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