Basra oil pipeline struck by bomb Thursday on third day of fighting

The bomb exploded under the Zubair-1 pipeline carrying crude to Iraq’s Gulf terminals. The blast, the second this week and the turbulence which erupted Monday, are expected to affect oil exports and drilling operations from southern Iraq.
In the Shiite town of Kut, Basra’s neighbor, 44 people are reported killed in fighting between Iraqi forces and local militias Thursday. At least 60 killed, 200 injured were killed Wednesday, when prime minister Nouri Maliki gave the militias and gangs 72 hours to lay down their arms and called in reinforcements from the Shiite town of Karbala.
In Baghdad, 17 people were killed Thursday in clashes in Sadr City in support of the Shiite militias and Hizballah Brigades fighting in Basra.
Five southern provinces are under curfew.
debkafile‘s military sources report that heavy fighting was sparked in the southern Iraqi oil hub city Tuesday, March 25, by the Maliki government’s first massive military challenge to rival militias, including the Sadrist Mehdi Army and the Hizballah Brigades of Iraq, which our sources report raised its head in mid-January in several parts of the country, including Baghdad.
debkafile reports: Muqtada Sadr’s Mehdi Army have taken up arms and declared civil revolt, calling on Maliki to resign.
The next DEBKA-Net-Weekly out Friday closely examines Iraq’s changing battlefield and brings fresh disclosures.
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The new arrival has joined the armed Shiite groups and criminal gangs battling for control of Basra and its oil resources. Ignored by the international media, the Iraqi Hizballah draws on its Lebanese command for orders, fighters, arms and cash. A tentacle of the Lebanese Shiite terror group has therefore quietly grabbed a piece of the insurgent action in Iraq under the aegis of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards al Qods Brigades.

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