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Army Clashes With Basra Council Guards
Detention of Two Councilmen Reportedly Tips Off Cycle of Arrests and Violence
06/19/2009 5:00 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

Forces of the Iraqi 14th Division arrested an officer and eight members of the Provincial Council building guard in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, as clashes reportedly erupted Friday between Army forces and the council guards following the Army’s arrest of two provincial council members on Thursday and the apparent retaliatory arrest of a 14th Division employee.

An unidentified eyewitness told al-Malaf Press that armed clashes involving the use of automatic rifles broke out between Iraqi Army forces and Basra council guardsmen as Army troops moved to arrest the eight councilmen on Friday. The eyewitness could not provide details on any casualties in the fighting.

A source in the Provincial Council said that the arrest operation came after members of the council guard arrested one of the 14th Division employees at an earlier time, the agency adds. The source added that the Basra council held an emergency meeting to discuss the circumstances of the events.

On Thursday, Iraqi Army forces reportedly arrested two members of the Basra Provincial council, Muhammad al-Maksousi, the head of the economic development committee, and with Ali Sawadi, a member of the agricultural committee, while they were touring the southern province.

The two men were released after a short period, following the intervention of the provincial council president and other members of the council, al-Malaf Press writes.

14th Division Commanders have not provided further comment on those arrests, the agency adds.

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