General Hikmat Mousa from the ministry of interior, discredited the news about more than a hundred people taken hostages in Mada'en and he stressed that news agencies had exaggerated the situation.
The general told "New Sabah" that three battalions from the special forces of the ministry of interior are positioned around the town and on the roads leading to it from the Hafriyah, Khalsah and Al-Wahda suburbs.
He added that these forces are waiting for engineering and other support units to begin cleaning the town from weapons, IEDs and unexploded ammunitions. The operations will extend later to include the rest of the suburbs in the region south-east of Baghdad.
This afternoon, Al-Fayhaa TV broadcasted clips showing the Iraqi security forces arresting many suspected terrorists and evacuating a number of weapon caches.
Iraqi authorities announced yesterday that security forces had arrested many suspects among whom were a number of the most wanted terrorists, namely "Kareem Abbas Sari" who's leading a terror cell of 41 fighters and 4 suicidal recruits supposed to be non-Iraqi.
Primary investigations revealed that the leader of the cell was receiving financial support from "Mahmood Younis Al-Ahmed" who's currently leading the remaining Ba'athists in Syria. It's worth mentioning that there's a million $ reward on Al-Ahmed's head.
Mean while the 104th battalion of the Iraqi Army arrested 4 more terrorists in Mosul after receiving intelligence about a number of terrorists preparing for attacks in the city. Some amount of weapons was also confiscated in the operation.
In the city of Baquba, 22 suspects were arrested and large amounts of weapons and ammunitions were found.
A joined task force from the Iraqi and American armies launched an offensive on a number of terror nests in Jurf Al-Sakhr and Alexandria south of Baghdad; 4 terrorists were killed and 11 arrested at the end of the operation which helicopters and tanks were providing backup for.
From AlSharq Al-Awsat.
Other news outlets reported that Izzat Addori's nephew was captured a couple of days ago in Baquba also. This guy was leading a terror cell in the city and he's a former imtelligence officer in Saddam's regime.
Today's session of the National Assembly:
During the discussions, one member said that the residents of Baghdad are complaining from the strict security measures in Baghdad which include blocking many bridges and main streets in Baghdad during the sessions of the Assembly. The member said that he met a person who told him "if I knew that elections were going to lead to this situation I wouldn't have gone for the elections".
Another member responded to this statement saying "this is an insult to the assembly and I have many points against this idea. The inconvenience and discomfort caused by the necessary security measures cannot be compared to the importance of what were doing here, we represent the people and we're trying to draw the lines that lead the country to a better tomorrow, so everyone has got to tolerate the exceptional circumstances we're going through"
Here the chairman commented "the security measures are necessary to keep the political process moving; if something bad happens and-God forbid-we lost some of the members in an attack, the people will hold the government accountable for the incompetence.
I think the media and sometimes the people too are exaggerating the side effects of the strict security precautions in Baghdad but they will be complaining even more if no enough protection was provided for the Assembly. You can't please everyone, eh?
The association of Kurdistan women demanded from the future government to assign 30% of the ministries to women (at least 10 out of 31) and to allow female members of the Assembly to head some of the committees of the Assembly.
The association had also requested that women should be granted a higher percentage (40%) of the seats in the parliament in any future elections.
The chief of the association Mrs. Nisrin Birwari emphasized the brave role of Iraqi women in the success of the elections and expressed her happiness with the current percentage of women inside the Assembly which she considered as a pioneer experience in the region.
But she added that women are looking forward to getting a higher representation and occupying more important seats in the future administrations.
Negotiations for the formation of the new governement:
The elected Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jafari said that his cabinet is going to include 31 ministries and that the "door is still open for the political powers to participate in the formation".
Reports attributed the delay in announcing the new formation to the stubbornness of Allawi's list and the conditions put by this list to be part of the new government.
Allawi stated in a televised interview on Al-Iraqia TV that his list is seeking the post of either the defense or interior ministries in addition to 3 other less sovereignty related ministries.
"We are waiting for an answer from the other major two lists and we're certainly willing to participate in the government if we get a positive response. Our demands are based on parliamentary eligibilities and on the principles of national unity government.
Ibrahim Al-Jafari met a number of the prominent Iraqi Christian clerics to discuss a number of the issues that concern the religious minorities in Iraq like providing security for the churches and protecting freedom of belief.
Thousands of Al_Shorja merchants and workers protested yesterday near the building of Baghdad's trade chamber to ask compensations for the damages caused by the huge fire that destroyed their stores.
It was reported that 1000 business owners and 6000 workers working in those stores were affected by the fire.
Primary investigations suggest that the fire originated from an electric bad contact as the electric installations in the building were disorganized and not receiving proper maintenance.
Baghdad's municipal department is cooperating with the civil defense department on removing the rubble and reopening the adjacent streets.