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Thursday, April 08, 2004

Consider the Fan Hit

Condi's on, streaming from C-SPAN, and more on that later, but looks to be a dark cloud day no matter how her testimony falls:

Afghan City Falls to Strongman as Troops Fly In

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL (Reuters) - Forces of a renegade adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai have overrun the capital of a northern province, a defense ministry official said on Thursday.

Forces of ethnic Uzbek strongman General Abdul Rashid Dostum invaded Faryab province on Wednesday, prompting the central government to dispatch national army troops there on Thursday in an attempt to restore order.

"Both the governor and the commander have fled. Dostum's forces have overrun Maimana," said a defense ministry official, who did not want to be identified.


Gunmen Take Seven Koreans Hostage in Iraq

SEOUL (Reuters) - Seven South Korean members of a church group have been taken hostage by armed men in Iraq (news - web sites), the South Korean foreign ministry said on Thursday.

An Iraqi group detained the seven church ministers earlier on Thursday near Baghdad. One female member escaped, the ministry said in a statement.

The identity of the group and whereabouts of the Koreans were not known, it said.

Kim Sang-mee, who escaped the gunmen, told South Korea (news - web sites)'s MBC TV that several Iraqis armed with guns and dressed like civilians stopped cars and took away the rest of her group, which had been on its way to Baghdad from Jordan.


Jazeera Airs Video of Japanese Held by Iraq Group

DUBAI (Reuters) - Arab television Al Jazeera aired a video on Thursday showing three Japanese, including one woman, it said were taken hostage by an Iraqi group vowing to kill them if Japan does not leave Iraq (news - web sites).

A statement by the hitherto unknown Iraqi group called Saraya al-Mujahideen (Mujahideen Brigades), shown by the channel, gave Japan three days from the airing of the video to withdraw its troops from Iraq before it killed the hostages.

The Arabic statement said Japan had betrayed Iraqis by supporting the U.S. occupation of Iraq.


Militiamen Control Parts of 3 Iraq Cities

The militia led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has full control over the city of Kut and partial control in Najaf, but coalition forces will move soon to break their hold, said Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. general in Iraq (news - web sites) said. Residents of Kufa said militiamen also control that southern city by holding police stations and government buildings.


Arabs From Israel Said Kidnapped in Iraq

JERUSALEM - Two aid workers who are Arab residents of Jerusalem — including one with a Georgia driver's license — were kidnapped Thursday by insurgents in Iraq (news - web sites), Israeli media reported.

Footage from Iranian television, rebroadcast by Israeli TV, showed photographs of the men's documents, including an Israeli driver's license, an Israeli health insurance card and a supermarket card.

The footage showed one of the men, Nabil Razouk, 30, had a U.S. driver's license from the state of Georgia. The other captive was identified as Ahmed Yassin Tikati, 33. Both men said on TV that they were international aid workers.

and let's not forget this gem from yesterday:

Former Iraqi enemies unite to fight U.S.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 6 (UPI) -- The American dream to bridge ancient Iraqi sectarian rivalries turned nightmarish Tuesday as Shiite and Sunni religious and tribal figures put aside their differences and publicly aligned against the occupation, vowing to rid Iraq of the American-led invaders....

... There are also indications that the two groups have come to an agreement to join with an al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group thought to have conducted widespread terrorist attacks against U.S. and Iraqi targets alike.....

.... This development would have been unthinkable a week ago as the previous resistance organizations have been led by religious Sunni -- who consider the Shiite heretics in Islam -- and former Baath members whose secular regime brutally oppressed the Shiites for decades.

But even as U.S. tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles surrounded Sadr's headquarters in a vast Shiite neighborhood named for his father, emissaries arrived from the tribal leaders of Sunni regions and from the largest resistance movement in Iraq to offer their services to Sadr in his fight against the Americans.

Inside the Sadr office building, which was defended by about 100 armed and 400 unarmed men and boys, was cordoned off by the U.S. military, three obviously Sunni clerics arrived with a letter for the leaders of the Mehdi Army.

"We have come to see how our friends are doing," Sheikh Hudor al-Abari told United Press International.

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