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2003-04-26 - 9:18 a.m.

Latest News on Iraq

Click on the underscored title to view the full reports

Pentagon Sending a Team of Exiles to Help Run Iraq
By DOUGLAS JEHL with JANE PERLEZ

WASHINGTON, April 25 The Pentagon has begun sending a team of Iraqi exiles to Baghdad to be part of a temporary American-led government there, senior administration officials said today.

The exiles, most of whom are said by officials to have a background in administration, are supposed to take up positions at each of 23 Iraqi ministries, where they will work closely with American and British officials under Jay Garner, the retired lieutenant general who is serving as Iraq's day-to-day administrator.

Bush Aims to Say Military Part of War Over Next Week, Aides Say
By Richard Keil and Washington

Washington, April 25 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush intends to use a speech aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier next week to declare that the military phase of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq has come to an end, two administration officials said.

The speech, still being crafted, will say that while the armed conflict with an organized Iraqi army has come to an end, U.S. forces face potential sniper attacks and skirmishes with loosely organized Hussein loyalists or anti-U.S. fighters from Iraq and other Middle Eastern nations, the aides said.

Bush has said he won't declare an end to the war until General Tommy Franks, the U.S. armed forces commander in Iraq, tells him that a military victory has been achieved. Bush's plan to fly to the carrier Abraham Lincoln to deliver the May 1 speech marks a shift of focus to rebuilding Iraq and helping install a democratic government after 35 years of dictatorship.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said today's war is different from ``World War I or World War II that starts and then ends.'' In Afghanistan, ``we moved from major military activities to a point where at the present time, the vast majority of the country is in a stabilization security mode, it's not in a major military activity mode, except along the Pakistan border.''

Sunni faithful vow jihad if US doesn't withdraw soon
BAGHDAD (AFP) Apr 25, 2003

Hundreds of worshippers at a leading Sunni mosque in Baghdad on Friday denounced the US occupation of Iraq and vowed to launch a holy war if the troops did not withdraw soon.

"We are running out of patience with the Americans here," said Ammar al-Azami after prayers at the Abu Hanifa mosque, long a stronghold of loyalists to ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"The Americans won't leave because they are after our oil, water and land. They also want to settle here to protect Israel," he said.

"But they're wrong to believe they'll succeed and that we'll stay silent. We were waiting for a fatwa (religious decree) from our ulemas to fight back," he warned.

"They don't respect anything, not our land, not our people. They even shelled this mosque," said Ala Hussein. "We're keeping quiet just because our ulemas have asked us to."

Rumsfeld's rejection of Islamic state angers Shias
By Phil Reeves in Baghdad
26 April 2003

Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defence, will have won plaudits from his zealous friends by declaring that an "Iranian-style" Islamic government "is not going to happen" in Iraq. But his words fell on stony ground outside the al-Muhsen mosque in Baghdad yesterday.

Members of the huge Shia crowd gathered for Friday prayers were quick to spot the contradiction in his position.

"I thought the Americans said they wanted a democracy in Iraq," said Kassem al-Sa'adi, a 41-year-old merchant. "If it is a democracy, why are they allowed to make the rules?"

We won't stop in Iraq - Bush aide
MARGARET NEIGHBOUR
Sat 26 Apr 2003

PENTAGON adviser Richard Perle, a key architect of the US-led drive to topple Saddam Hussein, told a French newspaper that Washington had not run out of countries to target as part of the war against terrorism.

"The military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq are part of efforts to fight against terrorism," Mr Perle told Les Echos.

"We are not going to stop there. We shall continue to fight against countries who harbour terrorists and develop weapons of mass destruction."

He said the UN Security Council was ill-suited to dealing with such threats and should be reformed.

Unexploded bombs make children new casualties of war
By Scheherezade Faramarzi
Associated Press, 4/25/2003 19:31

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) It was two boys fighting over what they thought was a toy. Only it wasn't a toy at all.

''My brother picked it up first,'' 10-year-old Ahmed Abbas said. ''He didn't give it to me, but I grabbed it from him.''

He spoke in a barely audible voice, from a hospital bed. Sitting up halfway, he lifted his left hand, which was wrapped in a bloody bandage and missing four fingers.

What injured Ahmed was stray ordnance, in his case left behind by the Iraqi army when it withdrew from the northern city of Mosul on April 11.

These hazards of war, scattered all around Iraq, are proving to be a major concern, and human rights groups have been adamant about the need to clean up unexploded ordnance, particularly in populated areas.

Cleric Urges Iraqis to Reject 'Tyrant' U.S.
Fri April 25, 2003 07:58 AM ET
By Nadim Ladki

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A senior Sunni Muslim cleric urged Iraqis on Friday to reject the U.S. presence in their country and likened it to the "tyranny" of Saddam Hussein.

Sheikh Moayyad Ibrahim al-Aadhami also told scores of worshippers at the Abi Hanifah Nouman mosque in Baghdad that Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims should shun sectarian divisions and live in harmony.

Although Sheikh al-Aadhami's sermon was milder than the fiery, anti-U.S. rhetoric of some previous homilies, his words reflected the anger many Iraqis feel at what they regard as the U.S. occupation of their country.

"Let's say no to America, no to the occupation. We won't replace one tyrant with another," Sheikh al-Aadhami said in a sermon marking Friday prayers.

"We want a people that enjoys security...We want a Muslim people, that has equal rights and duties, that groups Arabs, Kurds, and other minorities. We want a people not split by sectarianism, with Sunnis and Shi'ites standing hand in hand."

U.S. Has Not Inspected Iraqi Nuclear Facility
Site That Contained Uranium Was Looted After War

By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 2003; Page A14

KUWAIT CITY, April 24 -- Nearly three weeks after U.S. forces reached Iraq's most important nuclear facility, the Bush administration has yet to begin an assessment of whether tons of radioactive material there remain intact, according to military officials here and in Washington.

Before the war began last month, the vast Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center held 3,896 pounds of partially enriched uranium, more than 94 tons of natural uranium and smaller quantities of cesium, cobalt and strontium, according to reports compiled through the 1990s by inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Immensely valuable on the international black market, the uranium was in a form suitable for further enrichment to "weapons grade," the core of a nuclear device. The other substances, products of medical and industrial waste, emit intense radiation. They have been sought, officials said, by terrorists seeking to build a so-called dirty bomb, which uses conventional explosives to scatter dangerous radioactive particles.

Defense officials acknowledge that the U.S. government has no idea whether any of Tuwaitha's potentially deadly contents have been stolen, because it has not dispatched investigators to appraise the site. What it does know, according to officials at the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command, is that the sprawling campus, 11 miles south of Baghdad, lay unguarded for days and that looters made their way inside.

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