Najaf, Iraq (AFP) Feb 23, 2011
Radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr returned to the holy city of Najaf from Iran on Wednesday, a source within his office told AFP.
"Moqtada al-Sadr arrived at his home in Al-Hannana in Najaf this afternoon," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We don't know if this visit will be for a long time or not."
Sadr returned to Iran, where he spent four years of self-imposed exile, on January 20 after having spent two weeks in Iraq.
While in Iraq last month, the firebrand cleric called on his supporters to resist the US "occupation" by all means.
He had left Iraq at the end of 2006 or early in 2007, according to US and Iraqi officials, and had reportedly been pursuing religious studies in the Iranian holy city of Qom.
The controversial Sadr gained widespread popularity among Shiites in the months after the 2003 US-led invasion, and his Mahdi Army militia later battled American and Iraqi government forces in several bloody confrontations.
But in August 2008, Sadr suspended the activities of the Mahdi Army, which once numbered in the tens of thousands, after major US and Iraqi assaults on its strongholds in Baghdad and southern Iraq in the spring.
earlier related report
Several hundred demonstrators had been marching to the offices of Halabja mayor Goran Adhem when shots were fired, although both sides offered differing accounts of how the fatality occurred.
"The demonstrators shot and killed a policeman and wounded another," Adhem said. He added that protesters attempted to march to his office but, before arriving, opened fire.
Adhem said that authorities had "video of demonstrators carrying guns" and claimed that protesters were not from the Kurdish town, 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the Iraqi autonomous region's second-biggest city Sulaimaniyah, but instead were of Arab origin.
But protesters, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of arrest, insisted that no one at their rally was carrying weapons. They said that police fired into the air and the casualties were caused when the bullets fell downwards.
A journalist for the independent Kurdish weekly Awene said that demonstrators had assembled at around 2:00 pm (1100 GMT) at Hurriyah Square in the centre of Halabja before moving towards the mayor's office.
"I heard gunshots, I don't know where they came from, and I ran away," the journalist said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A medical official at Halabja hospital, who did not want to be named, said one policeman was killed and five people were wounded, including four civilians who suffered bruises.
A rally in the town a day earlier left 32 police wounded after protesters threw stones at security forces, Adhem said.
The policeman's death was the fourth in Kurdistan since Thursday when thousands have hit the streets of Sulaimaniyah and Halabja to demand an end to the dominance of two parties that have lorded over Kurdistan for decades.
In Sulaimaniyah on Wednesday, around 3,000 demonstrators, some carrying pictures of people killed in previous rallies, railed against the region's leadership.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party of regional president Massud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani have jointly ruled the region for decades.
Meanwhile, near the southern city of Nasiriyah, 15 people were wounded -- 11 police and four protesters -- as a result of clashes that broke out from rallies.
The 200-odd demonstrators had been railing against poor public services and corruption and began throwing stones at security forces, sparking the clashes, Fuhud town Mayor Zaki al-Ameri said. He added that 18 people were arrested.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century
Iraqi press watchdog blames govt for break-in
Baghdad (AFP) Feb 23, 2011
An Iraqi media watchdog on Wednesday accused the government of being behind the theft of computers and documents at its premises, claiming authorities had been attempting to clamp down on its work. "This is a message from the government, they are trying to stop us doing our work defending the press, because we have criticised the closure of news outlets and the levying of fines on publicatio ... read more
Israel successfully tests Arrow anti-missile system|
Knesset urges $1.4 billion Iron Dome buy
Surface Combat Systems Center Tests Aegis BMD Capabilities
Boeing And Northrop Grumman Submit Proposal For Missile Defense Competitive Contract
Russia vows to sell missiles to Syria
Enhancing The Protection Of Rotary Aircraft Against Missiles
JLENS Program Achieves Critical Milestone
System Integration Test For SM-3 Kinetic Warhead Completed
Fire Scout Completes First Unmanned Test Flights On Littoral Combat Ship
K-MAX Achieves Numerous Firsts During Recent Demo Flights
Northrop Grumman Awarded UAS Common Architecture Working Group Contract
AeroVironment Develops World's First Fully Operational Life-Size Hummingbird-Like Unmanned Aircraft for DARPA
Northrop Grumman Next-Gen FBCB2 System Approved For Fielding
Boeing To Demonstrate Aviation Command And Control Subsystem For US Marine Corps
RC-12X Aircraft Provides Highly-Capable SIGINT Systems To Warfighter
ThalesRaytheonSystems Announces Command View Mobile For C4I Solution
LockMart Receives Major Contract Modification For F-22 Raptor Sustainment
Boeing Receives Second Option Of B-52 Engineering Sustainment Contract
A Device Enables The Remote Explosion Of Improvised Land-Mines
Boeing EA-18G Growlers Deployed by US Navy
Despite turmoil, Mideast arms sales boom
Tanker victory spells risks for Boeing
China's Huawei seeks US government probe
EADS 'disappointed and perplexed' by US tanker decision
US top military officer visits Gulf amid Arab revolts
Taiwan cardinal eyes China-Vatican dialogue
Mideast unrest puts US military access in jeopardy
US: Troops' move depends on Japan
Scientists Build World's First Anti-Laser
Yale scientists build 'anti-laser'
'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance
ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|