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* Missed messages on Iran  Robert Kagan

* Envoy Condemns US Officials' Irresponsible Comments on Iran  News Report

* 'Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran'  News Report

* Warning of long war if Israel attacks Iran  News Report

* Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show  News Report

* Iran denies Ahmadi-Nejad was attacked  News Report

* Sanctions set stage for a new push on Iran  News Report

* اطلاعیۀ آیت الله منتطری دربارۀ حرام بودن مقاومت در برابر رأی مردم  Ali Behrooz

* لیست اسامی با حروف فارسی، تا تاریخ 08/09/08  Ali Behrooz

* War of words, or words of war  Ali Behrooz

* Could Israel use submarines against Iran?  News Report

* Iran deplores UAE claim on 3 islands  News Report

* 'Iran will respond to any attack'  News Report

* Carter to meet Hamas leadership in Cairo  News Report

* No Peace Without Hamas  News Report

* Ahmadinejad again voices Sept. 11 doubts  News Report

* Clinton, Obama tackle Iran issue in debate  News Report

* Bomb kills at least 9 in Iran mosque  News Report

* Iran demands Israel stop force threats  News Report

* Ahmadinejad to dismiss 2 cabinet ministers in Iran  News Report

* Iran: Naval encounter routine check  News Report

* Tony Blair's Palestine  News Report

* Clinton attacks Obama and McCain over Iraq  News Report

* Reza Pahlavi: Leadership for Democracy in Iran  News Report

* Petraeus: Return to 'pre-surge' troop levels, then wait  News Report

* Blast rocks US complex in Sanaa  News Report

* Clashes in Nile Delta after strike aborted  News Report

* When a great power goes mad  News Report

* Iranians defy censor with bootleg DVDs  News Report

* Putin says Iran is no threat  News Report

* Creating a US-Iran Bridge  News Report

* Court removes PKK from terror funds list  News Report

* 12 militants wanted by Israel flee Palestinian jail in West Bank after fight  News Report

* Limiting Tehran’s Influence?  Ali Behrooz

* UAE detains ship as grip on Tehran tightens  News Report

* Iranian critic not guilty of espionage  News Report

* Israelis and Palestinians pledge to reach peace pact by end of 2008  News Report

* Conference in Qom focuses on Iran-US challenges  News Report

* FM spokesman: Iran's plan on Iraq not put for voting  News Report

* Iran's top dissident cleric calls for U.S. talks  News Report

* Islamic militants take fight against Musharraf to 'Pakistan's Switzerland'  News Report

* 'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law  News Report

* US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary  Sir Cyril Townsend

* After Thamilselvan  News Report

* Analysis: Is Abbas playing his cards right ahead of ME summit?  News Report

* Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie  News Report

* Senior Tamil Tiger leader killed  News Report

* US declares PKK 'a common enemy'  News Report

* Iran urged to join Gulf nuclear deal  News Report

* Iran's leaders need enemies like Bush, and at every turn he obliges them  News Report

* Giuliani hits Democrats on Iran  News Report

* Iran: We have no information on Arad  News Report

* Clinton hails US move on Iran  News Report

* Israel to prepare for potential missile attack  News Report

* US First Lady in Kuwait  News Report

* Rice: Mideast solution in jeopardy  News Report

* Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins  News Report

* Protesters confront Condoleezza Rice as she testifies on Middle East  News Report

* Showdown With Iran  News Report

* U.S. outlines Baghdad security handover plan  News Report

* Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.  News Report

* Iraq promises Turkey it will curb Kurdish rebels  News Report

* Big shoes to fill  News Report

* LUKOIL says halts Iran oil project on US sanctions  News Report

* Three soldiers killed in Darfur camp attack - UN  News Report

* There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon  News Report

* Lebanese patience for Nahr al-Bared displaced wears thin  News Report

* Iran, Syria urge diplomatic means instead of military incursion into Iraq  News Report

* Talabani refuses to deliver PKK leaders to Turkey amid protests against incursion  News Report

* Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels  News Report

* Iran N-case on Olmert's Paris agenda  News Report

* Motaki (FM): US in No Position to Attack Iran  News Report

* We will fight to the death, Kurdish rebel leader vows from his hideout  News Report

* Deaths And Hostages In Border Clash  News Report

* Flash News: Kurdish separatistand 12 Turkish soldiers killed  News Report

* IRGC Commander:Aggressions to Be Reciprocated with a Rain of Rockets  News Report

* 2 leaders back Blair as European Union president  News Report

* Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis  News Report

* Jordan hopes for positive outcome of Annapolis meeting  News Report

* Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns  News Report

* Larijani Resigns  Ali Behrooz

* NATO says shipment of roadside bombs was 'from Iran'  News Report

* Israel impeding effort to clear cluster bombs  News Report

* Bhutto defiant over bomb attack  News Report

* Democrats' stance on Iran criticized  News Report

* Top Palestinian negotiator may resign  News Report

* UN condemns killing of its truck drivers in Darfur  News Report

* Kurds sign oil deals beyond regional borders – former minister  News Report

* Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud  News Report

* Rice back in Israel after Egypt talks  News Report

* Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in southern Iran go on strike  News Report

* Ahmadinejad: Caspian states to form economic cooperation organization  News Report

* Putin lands in Iran for nuke talks  News Report

* Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace  News Report

* Coalition of the Reluctant  News Report

* World bank neglects African farming, study says  News Report

* Putin dismisses threat of assassination in Iran  News Report

* Israel signals readiness to cede parts of Jerusalem to Palestinians  News Report

* Christiane Amanpour: 'People think I relax with a Kalashnikov - I don't'  News Report

* After honeymoon, Sarkozy method poses three risks  News Report


Suspected Shiite Militants Held in Iraq
[ News Report]  [2007-05-05 04:31:53]
[Source: 5 May 07, Chicago Tribune]


By ROBERT H. REID
Associated Press Writer
Published
May 5, 2007, 2:10 AM CDT

BAGHDAD -- U.S.-led forces on Friday arrested suspected Shiite militants accused of smuggling powerful bomb components from Iran, and clashes between Shiite factions broke out in two major cities. The U.S. announced the deaths of five American soldiers -- three of them in bombings.

The arrests occurred during a raid early Friday in
Baghdad's teeming Shiite district of Sadr City, stronghold of the notorious Mahdi Army militia of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.


A
U.S. military statement did not identify them as Mahdi Army members but said they were part of a "secret cell" that smuggles powerful bombs known as "explosively formed penetrators," or EFPs, from Iran and sends Shiite fighters from Iraq for training in Iran.

U.S. and some Iraqi officials suspect the Iranians may be stoking a growing power struggle among Shiite factions and political parties -- despite the Tehran government's insistence that it is working to help bring stability to its neighbor Iraq.

Clashes broke out Friday in
Baghdad and in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf when police said Mahdi Army gunmen attacked offices of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Republic in Iraq, or SCIRI, a key member of the U.S.-backed Iraqi government but with strong ties to Tehran.

Four people were injured in Najaf, 100 miles south of
Baghdad, prompting local authorities to impose a curfew. The clash in Baghdad occurred when Mahdi gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at a SCIRI office in the Habibiya district, injuring two guards, police said.

In Diwaniyah, a Shiite city 80 miles south of
Baghdad, suspected Shiite gunmen attacked a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol late Friday, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounding four civilians, police said.

It was unclear what provoked the attacks, but they appeared to be part of an escalating power struggle brewing throughout the dominant Shiite community, which intensified after
Britain announced plans to draw down its troops in the mostly Shiite south.

Shiite parties are trying to oust the Shiite governor of oil-rich
Basra province, and violence has broken out recently in Kut and other Shiite cities.

Some Mahdi Army members in
Sadr City have said a pro-Iranian faction has been sending fighters to Iran for training. The members spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears for their own safety.

In another sign of unrest, hundreds of angry Shiites poured onto the streets of Najaf and
Basra to protest what they considered insults by Al-Jazeera television against Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The protesters were angered by an Al-Jazeera talk show this week in which the host, Egyptian Ahmed Mansour, questioned al-Sistani's leadership credentials and whether he authored his own religious edicts.

Unrest in Shiite areas adds a new and dangerous dimension to the challenge facing
U.S. forces as they try to restore order in the capital during the 11-week Baghdad security operation.

U.S. officials maintain that sectarian killings in the capital have declined since the Baghdad crackdown was launched Feb. 14, in large part because Shiite militias assumed a low profile to avoid a confrontation with the Americans.

But attacks using EFPs, the signature weapon of Shiite militias, are on the rise.

Last month, the number of EFP attacks against American forces hit a monthly high of 69,
U.S. officials said. At the same time, April was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq since December with 104 deaths, although it was unclear how many were a result of EFPs.

The increase in attacks using EFPs, which the U.S. says come from Iran, suggest that the Shiite extremists may be shifting tactics, reducing their slaughter of Sunni civilians but focusing more on U.S. and Iraqi forces.

This week, extremists launched at least three rocket or mortar attacks against the U.S.-controlled Green Zone, killing four Asian contractors. Those attacks appeared to have come from areas where Shiite militias operate.

It was unclear whether Iranian weapons were responsible for the latest
U.S. deaths.

The military said one American soldier was killed Friday by a bomb south of
Baghdad. Four others were killed Thursday -- two by bombings in Sunni and Shiite areas of the capital and two in unspecified "combat operations" in Sunni-dominated Anbar province, the military said.

A senior
U.S. commander was wounded Thursday by small arms fire while inspecting a controversial security barrier being built by the military to separate a Sunni enclave from surrounding Shiite areas in northern Baghdad, the U.S. said Friday. The officer's name was not released.

One Iraqi interpreter was also killed in one of the Thursday attacks in
Baghdad, the military said.

At least 38 other Iraqis were killed or found dead Friday, police said. They included five policemen killed in a roadside bombing in western
Baghdad and five civilians who died when a car bomb exploded near a Shiite mosque in Hillah.

The bodies of 16 men -- bullet-riddled and handcuffed -- were found in various parts of
Baghdad, apparent victims of sectarian death squads, according to police.

Violence has also intensified as the
U.S. steps up its campaign against the Sunni-dominated al-Qaida network, which President Bush has identified as the No. 1 target of the U.S. military.

American and Iraqi troops repulsed a coordinated attack near Fallujah in a three-hour battle Thursday in which 11 people were killed, six of them insurgents, the U.S. Marines said Friday. There were no
U.S. troops or Iraqi police killed, the Marines said, but five civilians died, five Iraqi police were wounded and one policeman was missing.

On Thursday, the
U.S. announced it had killed al-Qaida propagandist Muharib Abdul-Latif al-Jubouri in a battle near Taji north of Baghdad. On Friday, U.S. officials said al-Jubouri's spiritual adviser, Sabah Hilal al-Shihawi, and Egyptian fighter Abu Ammar al-Masri were also killed in the same battle.

But the two top al-Qaida figures -- Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi -- remain at large. Iraqi officials had announced both had been killed, apparently confusing them with al-Jubouri.

Al-Qaida's front organization, the Islamic State of Iraq, denied either was dead in separate statements posted on Islamic extremist Web sites.

Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press

 





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