Today is a day off in Iraq, emergency situation now officially declared with extended curfews 8pm-6am.
Sistani has been calling for restraint and calm but it seems that some Shia factions are not listening to him but instead they are listening to their direct references or acting on their own.
Spokesmen of the Islamic Party and Muslim Scholars claim more than 120 mosques have been blown up, set ablaze or came under small arms and RPG fire including the Um al-Qura mosque which is the HQ of the Association of Muslim Scholars which came under several drive-by shootings.
Radio Sawa reported a short while ago that the central morgue in Baghdad received some 80 bodies of people who were killed with gun shots since Wednesday afternoon.
In our neighborhood the Sadr militias seized the local mosque and broadcast Shia religious mourning songs from the mosques loudspeakers.
In several other cases, worshippers were turned away by "gunmen in black" who surrounded the closed mosques. Other mosques are encircled by razor-wire to stop anyone from approaching them.
The sense in the streets and the statements given by some Shia clerics suggest that retaliation attacks are organized and under control and are focusing on mosques frequented by Salafi and Wahabi groups and not those of ordinary Sunnis.
Looking at the geographic distribution of the attacked mosques, I found they were mostly in areas adjacent to Sadr city forming a line that extends from the New Baghdad district in the southeast to al-Hussayniya in the northeast.
The Association of Muslim Scholars is accusing the Sadrists in particular, actually it's not only the Association that accuses the Sadrists, most people here in Baghdad point out the role of Mehdi army of Sadr in carrying out most of the attacks.
The Association is trying to remind Sadr of the their times of solidarity during the battles in Najaf and Fallujah yet they are condemning his message to his followers in which he called for keeping up and escalating the "protests".
Baghdad looks more alive today but in a very cautious way, traffic in the streets is heavier than it was yesterday but still way below normal.
There's some kind of shopping frenzy because people are trying to be prepared if the worst happens; people are stock-piling small reserves of food, cigarettes, bottled water…etc especially after they heard some of the roads to/from Baghdad are closed and vehicles were turned away.
The Sunni political leaders were invited to a meeting with the UIA suggested by president Talabani but they refused to join the meeting saying the government has to condemn attacks on their mosques as well before they consider ending the boycott.
Talabani responded positively to their demand and gave a short statement to the press half an hour ago and condemned all attacks on worshipping places of all kinds.
The situation is still very tense but the good thing is that the Sunni have not returned the attacks and I hope the Shia have satisfied their vengeance by now because I don't want to even think of what can happen if this situation lasts longer than this.