Five killed in Baghdad clashes as two French journalists kidnapped
Shiite fighters and American troops clashed throughout the Baghdad slum of Sadr City, and a mortar barrage slammed into a busy neighborhood in the capital Saturday. At least five people were and dozens of others were injured.
Later, U.S. occupation forces exchanged gunfire with Iraqis along the city of Fallujah's eastern outskirts and the main highway running to Jordan, witnesses said. The fighting left at least 14 people injured, hospital officials said, according to The AP.
Meanwhile, Iraqi activists released a brief tape showing two French journalists kidnapped recently and said they were holding the men to protest a French law banning headscarves in schools, according to footage aired Saturday by Al Jazeera TV station.
It said the group gave the French government 48 hours to overturn the law but mentioned no ultimatum.
Christian Chesnot of Radio France-Internationale, or RFI, and Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro newspaper and RTL radio have not been in touch with their employers since Aug. 19, the French Foreign Ministry said last week.
The group described the French law banning religious apparel in public schools as "an aggression on the Islamic religion and personal freedoms."
France's Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement calling for the journalists' release. "The services of the French Embassy in Baghdad, like the French authorities, are mobilized more than ever. Once again, we call for the liberation of the two French journalists." (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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