Shiite figures ban dealing with occupation; clashes around Basra; Baghdad's battle starts with a massacre
Iraq-USA, Politics, 4/4/2003
The invading American forces started yesterday Baghdad's battle with waht was termed as a massacre that claimed the lives of scores of civilian Iraqis, targeting a secure village near Saddam International airport, as the invaders advanced during night time and violent confrontation took place between the invading forces and the Iraqi resistance forces in al-Kout, al-Hella and al-Basra, the surrounding of Kerbala and al-Najaf whose religious references ban dealing with occupation.
Meantime, the US Secretary of State Collin Powel refused to have any participation for the Europeans in running Iraq after the fall of the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. He promised a role for the UN and to decide this role in a new resolution that is wanted by the UN security council, considering that the "coalition" which paid the lives of its soldiers for the "liberation" of Iraq "should play the main role in defining the way for proceeding forward."
However, press reports said that "scores of Iraqis" including civilians and military men were killed in an American artillery and missile bombardment that targeted the small al-Furat village situated near the airport. One journalists said that more than 120 persons were hit in the attack which was launched against the village situated between the airport and the Iraqi capital. Iraqi officials said that the total number of the killed Iraqis reached 83 persons.
One wounded of the attack at al-Yarmouk hospital said "the planes came and bombarded our house," while another wounded said "this area is inhabited by innocents. To hell Bush, Iraq will be victorious."
The Iraqi deputy premier Tareq Aziz said that the invading forces will not be able to control Baghdad. He promised a war "costly" in lives. He said that "defending Baghdad is good and the war against us will be costly and huge if they approach it ( Baghdad)."
The Iraqi minister of information Muhammad Saeed al-Sahaf threatened of launching a counter Iraqi attack, of which he said that Baghdad has not decided to launch yet. He said that al-Basra is secure and strong and will continue as such, "we will defeat them in the south before we start our comprehensive counter attack."
Earlier yesterday, eye witnesses said that Saddam International airport which is situated 20 Km to southern west of Baghdad was exposed to artillery bombardment after which the invading forces advanced in an attempt to control it.
Iraqi officials said that the Iraqi forces seized five American tanks and one helicopter and arrested or killed their crews during the fighting near the airport. They explained that these gains were scored near al-Ridwaneyah village, near the airport. The US said it lost one FA-18 fighter and strike aircraft and Black Hawk helicopter."
Yesterday, the Iraqi TV broadcast new pictures for the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein while presiding over a meeting attended by the vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan and officials at the Baath Party. During the meeting, Saddam expressed his confidence that his country will be victorious, according to the TV which stressed that Saddam stressed "victory is sure." The Iraqi TV added at a time when Baghdad was in full darkness after the electricity was cut that Saddam Hussein who was in a military uniform listened during the meeting to " a briefing on preparations for the fighting which had started by the Iraqi armed forces and Saddam Fedayeen to withstand the invasion forces." The Iraqi TV added that the Iraqi president called on the Iraqis to "fight and resist and to be up to the standard of the challenge and also for enovative tactics to weaken the coalition forces."
Meanwhile, Shiite references in al-Najaf, London and Tehran denied news saying that the Shiite religious reference Ayatullah Ali al-Seistani issued a Fatwa calling on the Iraqis not to resist the invading American and British forces or to obstruct their advance in their invading to the Iraqi cities. These references stressed previous Fatwa issued recently by the Shiite references in al-Najaf stressing banning dealing with the occupation.
Scenes broadcast by TV stations showed aggregations of angry Shiite that prevented yesterday a patrol of Americans from approaching the Shrine of Imam Ali in al-Najaf.
In the North clashes took place between Kurdish fighters supported by American planes and the Iraqi forces near Kallak city in the northern part of the country while the lines separating the Kurdish and Iraqi forces confrontation between Dahouk and al-Mousel.
In remarks to his vision of Iraq after the war, Powell said yesterday "we will bring in immediately members that are able to form a provisional Iraq authority." He said that a "new resolution "by the UN Security Council will "be appropriate on that."
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