Friday, May 18, 2007


Fadila party leader intervenes in Nasiriyah clashes

(Voices of Iraq) - Eleven were killed and seventy others wounded in the clashes that flared up between police forces and fighters loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in al-Nassiriyah city, a medical source from Thi-Qar province said on Thursday. Eyewitnesses affirmed that calm had prevailed in the city today after the clashes were over and the regular rhythm of life had returned to the government's departments.
"The final death toll from the clashes is 11 dead, including six policemen, and seventy wounded," Dr. Hadi Badr al-Riyahi, director of Thi-Qar Health Department, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). Fierce clashes broke out on early Wednesday between elements of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sard's al-Mahdi army and police forces in different parts of the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriyah.
Media spokesman for the Thi-Qar police department Radi Abul Heel denied, in statements to (VOI), the killing of chief of the anti-riot forces, Jawad Abdil Kadhem. The man was wounded and is being treated, he said. The clashes flared up after the arrest of one of al-Mahdi army's elements in al-Shatra district in northern Thi-Qar, who was believed to have been involved in attacks against the Multi-National Forces in the province," a security source, who asked not to be named, told (VOI) on Wednesday.
"Armed groups from al-Mahdi army attacked the house of the police chief who was believed to be responsible for arresting the man and the matter flared the clashes," the source also said. Clerics, tribal chiefs and political figures in the Shiite city initiated efforts to contain the crisis, the head of the Shiite Fadhila (Virtue) party in Nassiriyah said yesterday.
"The crisis between Mahdi army fighters and police forces has been contained as Shiite cleric Ayatollah al-Yaqubi intervened in person to settle the dispute," Numan Amber Hwirif, head of Fadhila party in Nassiriyah, told (VOI). Ayatollah al-Yaqubi is the spiritual leader of the Fadhila party.
Hwirif added, "a truce was worked out and it provided that the police forces are the only body responsible for security in the city, in return for police withdraw from the Sadr's office in Nassiriyah. The truce also agreed to end all armed appearances in the city and that no armed militiamen should be out in the city streets," head of Nassiriyah Fadhila party said. Nassiriyah, capital city of Thi-Qar province, is 420 km south of Baghdad.

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