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Iraq minister makes civil war warning
by ALJ
Saturday Feb 25th, 2006 9:44 AM
Iraq's defence minister says a civil war will never end if it erupts as violence escalates across Iraq since the destruction of a Shia shrine on Wednesday.
Speaking at a joint news conference on Saturday afternoon, Saadun al-Dulaimi also said Iraq would not hesitate to dispatch tanks to the streets to end violence and impose security.

"We are ready to fill the streets with armoured vehicles," he told a news conference televised live to the nation on state television.

The minister also denied any involvement by what he called Interior Ministry commandoes in the attack that targeted Harith al-Dari, leader of the Association of Muslim Scholars.

He also appealed to the media not to exaggerate the bloodshed. He said the death toll over the past few days was no higher than 119 and the number of mosques attacked was 21 to 22, not the hundreds previously reported.

Day of attacks

Earlier in the day 11 bodies were found in five areas of Baghdad, police said. All were male and all had been shot.

Police said three people were killed and six wounded in mortar and rocket fire in al-Sadr City, the sprawling slum in eastern Baghdad which is a stronghold of Shia figure Muqtada al-Sadr.

Meanwhile, police said they body of a police officer with shotgun wounds was found near his home east of Tikrit.

Armed men opened fire on the house of al-Dari, the head of Iraq's leading Sunni Muslim religious organisation, in an attack he blamed on government forces.

Police said al-Dari's security personnel opened fire and there appeared to be injuries on both sides.

Meanwhile in London, England, thousands of Iraqi Shia took to the streets of the capital to demonstate against the bombing of the Askariya shrine. They shouted chants against Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and the Baath party.

Daytime curfew

The police further reported that 14 bodies of police commandos were found near one of the mosques attacked in southern Baghdad where clashes occurred overnight. Gunmen attacked the Qubaisy mosque and the Sunnis' revered Abu Hanifa shrine.

At least 12 members of a Shia family have been killed in Diyala province, and at least eight people were killed and 31 wounded in a car bomb blast in Karbala in an atmosphere of heightened tensions in Iraq.

The attack on the Shia family happened in Buhriz, about 60km north of Baghdad, provincial police said.

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http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/83926B1D-3351-4F44-916E-250F52AFA71E.htm