Iraq works on government, violence rages
The Los Angeles Times:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq is inching ever closer to forming a permanent government, after more than five months of arduous negotiations.Monday is the deadline for the government to form.
The prime minister-designate plans to present his Cabinet nominations to lawmakers on Saturday, according to a letter he sent to Iraq's parliament speaker.
The Los Angeles Times:
In Baghdad, gunmen stormed a parking lot surrounded by houses and a school and, in broad daylight, killed at least five security guards. Before leaving, the attackers planted a homemade bomb.The Times of London:
Gunmen elsewhere in Baghdad killed Abbas Ali Dahir Ani, a college dean for economics and administration, and two of his bodyguards. Four passengers in a small bus were killed in a separate shootout.
A roadside bomb in the insurgent stronghold of Yousifiya, about 10 miles south of Baghdad, killed four civilians, and gunmen went on a rampage in the religiously mixed streets of Dora. Two more bodies turned up, including one marked by torture.
Iraqi police said U.S. soldiers opened fire on a 16-year-old boy in Jadriya, a middle-class Shiite neighborhood. He died at a hospital, police said. The military said it could not confirm or deny the incident.
(my emphasis)Meanwhile, in the increasingly restive southern city of Basra, the coach of one of Iraq's most popular soccer teams was killed in a drive-by shooting. A group of men fired machine guns out of a sedan to kill Nazar Abdel Zahra late Monday, players on Al Mina team said.
Gunmen kidnapped a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates and wounded his guard Tuesday evening, police said.
In this atmosphere of intolerance and intimidation, the militias have made no secret of their hatred of homosexuals.Reuters Alert Net:
The man who threatened Karazan said that he was a member of the Taib (Wolf) Brigade, a commando group reportedly infiltrated by the armed wing of the hardline Shia party the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Its orders come from fundamentalist clerics.
With his skin-tight clothes and long blonde hair, Karazan, a 23-year-old arts student, stood out in the Shia neighbourhood of al-Dura. He told The Times: “A number of my gay friends have been murdered, so I took this warning seriously.” The family fled this month to a suburb north of the city centre.
An average of 70 civilians are killed in Baghdad every day, largely a result of the sectarian violence which has been on the rise since the 22 February attack on a revered Shi'ite shrine in Samarra city. Every month, the mortuary receives more than 1,500 bodies, not including the bodies of people killed in the north and south of the country.
"We can store up to 120 corpses, but with the ongoing violence and examination delays, we sometimes find ourselves with double that number," Ameen said. He went on to warn of the possibility of disease if bodies remained without refrigeration for long periods of time and stressed the morgue's need for more refrigeration units.