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Iraq TV reports arrest of 10 Al-Sadr office members’ families

BBC Monitoring

Between 0500-1000 gmt on 19 May, Baghdad Al-Sharqiyah Television in Arabic is observed to carry the following reports on security and political developments in Iraq:

    Within its 0500 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following reports:

     - "During his Friday [18 May] sermon in Baghdad, Imam Harith al-Ubaydi of the Islamic Party urged the government to introduce reforms and remedial changes that can promote the country's stability through the expansion of the political participation of the marginalized powers. Criticizing sectarian violence, Al-Ubaydi said that Islam prohibits the killing of children, the elderly, women, the unarmed, and worshippers."

     - "Iraqi Police have found the bodies of 25 treacherously-murdered martyrs in various Baghdad areas over the past 24 hours."

     - "The Baghdad-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory has criticized an Iraqi Interior Ministry decision to prevent journalists from carrying field coverage of acts of violence in Iraq. An Observatory statement said that such decision provides an ideal platform for security agencies to suppress media people."

    Within its 0800 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following reports:

     - "Joint Iraqi-US troops clashed with around 50 gunmen after an attack on a US base in Ba'qubah in Diyala Governorate, northeast of Baghdad." The channel cites a CNN report as saying that six gunmen were killed in the clashes.

     - "Saturday's edition of the London-based Al-Zaman newspaper said that Iraqi Kurdish security forces handed Turkey three members of the banned, Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK]. The three were handed at the Habur Border Gate. Security sources in Ankara said that the three had fled from PKK camps in Qandil Mountain before resorting to the Iraq Kurdistan Region, where the authorities turned them over to Turkey. According to Iraqi sources, many PKK members are waiting for a chance to escape from the party's camps due to bad conditions. The step was described as a Kurdish attempt to soften Turkey's stringent stand and avoid a possible military action that Turkish military sources say has become imminent and could be launched any time regardless of Washington's opposition."

    Within its 1000 gmt newscast, the channel carries the following reports:

     - "A source at the UK Embassy in Baghdad said that outgoing UK Prime Minister Tony Blair started today a surprise visit to Baghdad, adding that this could be Blair's last visit to Iraq before he leaves office on 27 June. No details as regards the visit's agenda were provided. Reuters said that Blair landed in the fortified Green Zone for talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to view means to expand political reconciliation in a country torn by sectarian violence."

     - "Iraqi troops arrested Friday night the families of several members of Martyr Al-Sadr Office [MSO] in Al-Hindiyah city in Karbala Governorate, southwest of Baghdad, after storming their houses. Speaking from Karbala today, an authorized MSO source said that the Iraqi troops captured the families of 10 staffers after raiding their houses. The source noted that no staffers were locked up." The channel adds that the source "did not comment on the reasons for the storming operation."

     - "A US Army statement said that nine suspects were arrested today as part of its search for the three soldiers abducted a week ago south of Baghdad in an ambush by an Al-Qa'da-affiliated group."

     - "Two explosive devices went off today in Al-Khadra area in southern Kirkuk, north of Baghdad. A police source said that two civilians were injured and nearby residences damaged. In another development, unidentified gunmen murdered a Kirkuk Emergency Unit member."

     - Unidentified armed men shot dead four civilians and seriously wounded two others in southern Al-Khalis Saturday morning.

    Source: Al-Sharqiyah TV, Dubai, in Arabic 0500 gmt 19 May 07

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