Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First mortar-fire casualty in the Green Zone

Five intermittent mortar rounds, four to six shells each, hit the Green Zone today (Wednesday March 26) lasting from morning until a little after noon, creating explosions and columns of black smoke that could be seen from far away, following similar shelling yesterday. VOI quotes the US spokesman to the effect three employees of the US embassy were wounded, without other details. The VOI English-language account gives that much information. Its Arabic-language version adds something else too:
One of the witnesses said one of the shells landed on Building 17 in the April 28 complex, which is located in front of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, killing one civilian and wounding four others.
[Note: This casualty outside the Foreign Ministry in the Green Zone was also reported by Xinhuanet, which said nine others were injured].

At a press conference on Wednesday evening a US General explained the concept behind what has been going on in the last few days, and VOI leads its account of his remarks this way:
The official spokesman for the American forces said Wednesday that the military operations that have been going on in the provinces of Baghdad and Basra are not a war being waged by the Iraqi government against the Sadrist movement's Mahdi Army, nor is it a war between America and Iran. Rather, this is a completely Iraqi initiative, with the Prime Minister making the decisions, to put an end to the outlaws who are hiding behind the cover of religion and politics.
If we recall that yesterday Petraeus said Iran was behind the shelling of the Green Zone, we can see that today's is a much more nuanced message.