Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Details emerge on Tuesday Baghdad battle; Ignited by mosque raid which killed 2

A soldier pulls street security during house raids in Baghdad on Tuesday night.

Sunni militants and residents of the Baghdad neighborhood of Fadhil fought a fierce daylong battle with the Iraqi Army and American soldiers on Tuesday in what appeared to be the most sustained confrontation since the start of the security plan to calm violence in the capital...

Fighting began Tuesday just past dawn, when the Iraqis and the Americans cordoned off part of the neighborhood and began searching for militants, according to local residents and the American military in a written statement.

The Iraqi Army raided a mosque and killed two men in front of other worshipers at the early morning prayers, according to the residents and the Muslim Scholars Association, a hard-line Sunni religious group, which quoted witnesses’ reports. The American military said it had no information about any killings in the mosque.

“One of those killed was named Sheik Saif; he was the muezzin,” said Qais Ahmed, 36, a day laborer, who lives near the mosque. The muezzin is the person who calls the faithful to prayer from a mosque’s loudspeakers and often is a well-known figure in the neighborhood.

“Then, the locals took their guns and went out to fight the Iraqi Army and the police in reaction to these executions,” he said.

Read the rest at the NY times

Related Link:
Fierce all-day battle in central Baghdad; 2 helicopters hit but not downed, 16 U.S. troops wounded