Monday, April 30, 2007

Thousands protest in Kadimiyah after U.S. raid on Sadr office kills 8

Thousands of followers of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada Al Sadr took to the streets in Baghdad Monday in protest at a US military operation that killed eight “extremists” near a revered Shiite shrine.

The demonstration followed an overnight raid in which US and Iraqi forces intended to capture “high-value individuals” meeting in the north of the capital, the US military said in a statement.

One Iraqi soldier and eight militants were killed during the operation near the Khadimiyah mosque, although none of the intended targets was captured, the military said.

Around 3,000 Sadr supporters filled the street in front of the shrine, waving Iraqi flags and banners and holding aloft a coffin they said contained the body of someone killed in the attack.

The US statement said that no American soldiers had entered the shrine or a nearby office of Sadr’s movement, and complained of “misreporting in media.”

“After setting up the cordon, coalition and Iraqi Forces received small arms fire. Men burned tyres in the streets south of the Al-Sadr Mosque and near a children’s hospital,” the military said.

“Neither the hospital nor the mosque caught fire. Eight individuals were detained as a result of the operation and were turned over to the Iraqi security forces,” it added.

“None of the targeted individuals were captured as a result of this operation and all detained individuals were later released.”

From the Peninsula