Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bahrain News Site: Sunnis Holding 150 Shiites Hostage

Contradicting earlier reports saying that Sunni terrorists in Madaen, Iraq were holding 60 Shia men hostage, Gulf Daily News of Bahrain reports in their Sunday edition that the Sunnis are holding 150 hostages, mostly women and children.
BAGHDAD: A major offensive was underway early this morning in Iraq's "Triangle of Death" to free more than 150 hostages, mainly women and children.

US and Iraqi forces launched the raid on the central town of Madaen after Sunni insurgents threatened to kill the hostages in 24 hours unless all Shias left.

The insurgents overnight dragged the civilians from their homes, ordered the others out of town and dynamited a mosque - threatening a potentially inflaming sectarian divide. Troops last night surrounded the town after attempts failed to defuse the crisis peacefully.
Gulf Daily News does not quote any news services, and the only sources quoted are an unnamed Baghdad Shia official, and an unidentified Madaen resident reached by telephone.

The hostage-taking appears to be a desperate bid to touch off a sectarian civil war.

Update: For what it's worth, propagandist creative commentator Patrick Cockburn of the ultra-leftist UK rag The Independent is using the 150 hostage figure in his Sunday rant.