- Title: IRAQ: ITALIAN TROOPS PATROL OUTSKIRTS OF NASSIRIYA.
- Date: 7th April 2004
- Summary: (W5) OUTSKIRTS OF NASSIRIYA, IRAQ (APRIL 6, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. GV/PAN/MCU: ITALIAN TROOPS BY MILITARY VEHICLE, PAN TO ITALIAN TROOPS ON ROAD; ITALIAN SOLDIER (2 SHOTS) 0.17 2. GV/MV/CU: VARIOUS OF ITALIAN SOLDIERS AND MILITARY VEHICLES, BARBED WIRE IN FOREGROUND; ITALIAN SOLDIER ON MILITARY VEHICLE/ MOUNTED GUN (6 SHOTS) 0.47 3. GV/MV: ITALIAN SOLDIERS CHECKING CARS (4 SHOTS) 1.12 4. GV/MV: ITALIAN SOLDIERS TALKING WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS (4 SHOTS) 1.28 5. GV/MV/LV: LOCAL RESIDENTS AND ITALIAN SOLDIERS AROUND BUS (3 SHOTS) 1.40 6. CU: ITALIAN WEAPON 1.43 7. VARIOUS: ITALIAN SOLDIERS TALKING WITH LOCAL RESIDENTS; WIDE OF SCENE; RESIDENTS WITH BELONGINGS (8 SHOTS) 2.44 8. LV: MILITARY VEHICLE ON EMPTY ROAD 2.49 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 22nd April 2004 13:00
- Location: OUTSKIRTS OF NASSIRIYA, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA74IKF13B7K6KXTWD2FPYJ3T6A
- Story Text: Italian troops patrol outskirts of Nassiriya
following earlier clashes with Shi'ite militiamen.
Italian troops guarded the outskirts of the southern
Iraq town of Nassiriya on Tuesday (April 6, 2004) after
gunfights that killed around 15 Iraqis and wounded 12
Paola della Casa, a spokeswoman for the U.S.-led
Coalition Provisional Authority in the area, said the death
toll, which included militiamen and civilians, was
approximate, with low-level clashes continuing in some
areas of the town.
The clashes began shortly after 4 a.m. (0000 GMT) when
members of a militia loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric
Moqtada al-Sadr fired on Italian forces as they began
operations to restore public order after two days of
Major Simone Schiavone, a spokesman for the Italian
military in Iraq, said Italian forces returned fire,
engaging in several extended gunbattles in the middle of
Witnesses said several civilians were killed and
wounded in the crossfire. Four Italian military vehicles
were set alight and 12 Italian troops, out of a force of
around 500 involved in the operation, were lightly wounded,
He said fighting was interrupted so the militiamen,
numbering around 100, could collect the wounded.
In recent days, pro-Sadr fighters seized control of
several bridges over the Euphrates river which runs through
Nassiriya, preventing aid and other supplies crossing from
one side of the town to the other. They also occupied a
local TV station.
"The city was divided in two, with the bridges under
their control. We had to go in and sort out the situation
before it deteriorated," Schiavone said.
Sadr's militia, known as the Mehdi Army, has staged
violent protests and fought pitched attacks in several
Iraqi cities in recent days in protest at the detention of
one of Sadr's aides and the closure of his newspaper by
Nassiriya, a predominantly Shi'ite city about 370 km
(230 miles) southeast of Baghdad, has been relatively
stable in the past year, apart from a suicide bombing on
the Italian headquarters in November which killed 19
About 3,000 Italian troops are based in the area as
part of a multinational force under British command.
A U.S. spokesman revealed on Monday that an Iraqi judge
had issued an arrest warrant for Sadr several months ago in
connection with the murder a year ago of moderate Shi'ite
cleric Abdul Majid al-Khoei in a Najaf mosque.
Sadr's group has denied involvement in the killing.
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