Saturday, September 30, 2006

Baghdad under curfew.

The situation in Baghdad calmed down soon after we made the previous post.
Saturday has been so quiet so far, never a single explosion happened as far as I know and there was hardly any sound of gunfire in or around our district in Baghdad.

What can be noticed about this particular curfew is that it's being strictly enforced by Iraqi and US forces in Baghdad.
During most previous days of curfew, vehicles and pedestrians were occasionally seen on the streets but this is not the case today. At least that's what I heard from people who tried to move around for shopping or other business. All, whether driving or on foot, were ordered to go home.

The reasons that made the government declare a curfew remain unclear. AFP reports that:
"The curfew was implemented on the advice of multinational forces to the prime minister because they felt violence would increase today," interior ministry spokesman Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf told AFP Saturday.
A US military spokesman would not say why it had recommended a curfew but only that "intermittent curfews have been an effective means of reducing violence in the past".

However, there's a rumor in Baghdad that al-Qaeda was planning to launch a major offensive in Baghdad and takeover wide sectors of the city. The rumor that was heard for the first time several days ago speaks of 3,000 al-Qeada fighters who have entered the city for that reason.

From what I heard it seems that most of yesterday's clashes took place in al-Dora and al-Hurriya districts south and north-west of Baghdad respectively and in al-Shaab and Sleikh north-east of Baghdad.
A cousin of mine who lives in al-Shaab told me this morning that the area is witnessing heavy presence of Iraqi army and police backed by US troops, and added that Sunni residents in Sleikh exchanged fire for hours with members of the Mehdi Army when the latter tried to invade the district.

Actually I've heard the exact opposite from Shia residents in that part of the city, they think that Sunni insurgents and Takfiris were leading the offensive…everyone tells the story in a different way based on his background.

It's still difficult to determine which story is closer to the truth at this moment.

More updates will follow when available.


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