Iraqi forces arrest 200 men of Shiite cleric amid curfew

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Media: AFP
Byline: n/a
Date: 15 August 2006

KARBALA, Iraq, Aug 15, 2006 (AFP) - Iraqi security forces stormed the
headquarters of a Shiite cleric in Karbala on Tuesday and arrested about 200
of his followers amid clashes that killed six people, a security source

Iraqi soldiers and police forced their way into the offices of Ayatollah
Mahmoud al-Hasani in the holy city and detained many of his militia allies.

The arrests followed clashes between militiamen and security forces in parts
of the city since early Tuesday that killed two Iraqi army officers, a
soldier and three civilians, medics said.

Following the clashes police imposed an indefinite curfew in the city.

Hasani's spokesman Dhia al-Musawi earlier told AFP that 30 to 40 followers
of the ayatollah had been arrested "with no justification."

"This is besides detaining a number of others inside the nearby hussainia
(mosque)," he said, blaming the arrests on Iraq's central government.

An AFP correspondent reported that militiamen loyal to Hasani controlled
three or four enclaves within the city, but a police officer said "we are in
full control".

Musawi said tension had risen in the city in recent weeks after militias
found a bomb in a car park.

"We defused the bomb and later contacted the official authorities but
received no response," he told AFP.

He said his people later closed the car park, which upset the authorities.

There was no official confirmation that a bomb had been found in the city as
claimed by Musawi.