Shifting Sands: Iraq Govt Expels Pilgrims
Freedom and Joint Taskforce Katrina. His commentary is based on actual
The recent acceletation in violence against Shiite Muslim pilgrims in the holy city of Karbala has prompted a crackdown from Iraqi government officials. In a bid to increase citywide security officials instituted a curfew and sealed off the city from vehicle traffic. Officials have also issued notices to the more than 1 million religous pilgrims ordering them to leave, stating that the government could no longer ensure their saftey. Since the violence began 27 have been killed and more than 100 wounded. Sunni militants trying to incite sectarian strife are suspected in the attacks. The Iraqi government has ordered security forces from other regions into Karbala to interdict and eliminate the extremist threat.
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 6 minutes ago
BAGHDAD - Police ordered a curfew Tuesday in Shiite holy city of Karbala and told more than 1 million pilgrims to leave after two days of violence claimed at least 27 lives during a religious festival. More than 100 people were wounded.
Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, gave the toll of dead and wounded, and said the "entrances and exits to Karbala have been secured and more forces are on the way from other provinces."
Another official in the ministry accused the Mahdi Army militia of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr of attacking government security forces in the center of Karbala, site of two Shiite shrines under the control of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council. Al-Sadr's forces are battling SIIC for power in regions south of Baghdad.