Ahmad Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai, a member of the influential Iraqi Muslim body, told Aljazeera that the US forces had surrounded al-Dhari village "without justification" on Sunday.

 

"US forces are carrying out random strikes and arrest operations," al-Samarrai said. Al-Dhari's house had been surrounded and stormed while an associate, Shaikh Abd al-Sattar, had been arrested, he added.

 

US forces also surrounded al-Haswa and al-Iskandariya cities south of Baghdad, raided mosques and arrested three of their most prominent imams, the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) said in a statement.

 

Difficult

 

"The situation is very difficult," al-Samarrai said. "Cities are surrounded, US forces are heavily deployed in many areas in Iraq and helicopters are hovering over them."

 

"... US forces should never underestimate the Iraqis and their abilities"

Ahmad Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai,
AMS member

"We don't know what they want," he added.

 

"The Iraqis want nothing but to be liberated from occupation," he said. "They only want to be free people."

 

"However, US forces should never underestimate the Iraqis and their abilities.

 

Displaced

 

"Eid has dawned," al-Samarrai said. "All Muslims are happy and exchanging greetings while the children of Falluja are under debris, some with legs and arms cut off, others lying in the hospital.

 

Eid is the Muslim holiday celebrating the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

 

"Tens of thousands of families are displaced, living on the streets. Many have no food, no medicines," he said.

 

"Is this the liberation, the freedom the Iraqis have been waiting for?" al-Dhari asked. "Is this is the freedom the US has been promising us?"

 

US helicopters have bombed a
market place in central Biji

"Until when will the world stay silent?" he asked. "People around the world should at least speak out."

 

"Unfortunately, the first day of Eid has dawned on Iraq when we are in such a horrible situation," al-Samarrai said.

"If the world stays silent towards this injustice, only Allah will be left to hear us complain," al-Samarrai said. 

 

Biji bombed 

 

Meanwhile, US helicopters bombed a marketplace in central Biji city where clashes erupted on Sunday morning between US forces and anti-US fighters.  

 

The clashes took place after a US military base had come under mortar attack in al-Siniya district in western Biji, north of Baghdad.  

 

The fighters also bombed a bridge in the area used by US forces to reach their military base.


In another development, fighters blasted an oil pipeline north of Biji city, setting it ablaze.