This morning I decided to make my stay at the clinic shorter than usual because I wanted to follow the developments of the hostage-taking case in Mada'en.
Since the clinic is located in the southern part if Baghdad and it would theoretically take half an hour to reach Mada'en, I took permission from my boss and decided to go as close as possible to the event zone.
I went to the local garage and got on a mini bus that was heading in that direction; I had doubts that the road would be open but I thought that since people are already going there, then maybe the road isn't blocked yet.
We reached a point less than 8 miles from Madae'n when we found that all the roads that lead to the town were sealed, so I got off the mini bus just like the rest of the passengers did and I walked to get a cup of tea from a nearby small cafeteria.
While being there I saw a lot of troops (Iraqi and American) moving towards Madae'n while I counted more than 6 fully armed Apache helicopters patrolling the skies above and around Mada'en.
I was listening to some folks talking about the situation over there; more than one person mentioned that many families especially Shea't have already departed the town and headed to Al-Kut at an earlier time to avoid being caught in the fight.
Later on Al-Iraqia TV, the State minister for security affairs reported before the National Assembly that five battalions from the Iraqi Army in addition to many units from the IP are participating in the assault on the terrorists who have taken control over the town. The minister also confirmed that a number of hostages have been freed after searching a number of suspected houses and buildings. However, no accurate statistics are available till now.
Related news stories here.