My grandmother in law called us yesterday and chided us for not calling her and asking about her after the crazy night they had just gone through. I hadn't really been aware of it, because the news didn't really cover it.
'Mammy' (grandma in law) lives on Umar ibn Abdul Aziz Street, one of the main streets in this Sunni dominated neighborhood. She told us that she had been unable to sleep all night because of the constant, unending barrage of gunfire on their street from 1 AM until 11 AM the next day. Her son (my uncle in law) and his family, who live with her, had to move away from their windows, in fear of random bullets coming through. In fact, a couple of their windows broke from the gunfire.
I asked a bunch of people who was responsible for this fighting. No one was 100% sure of the fighters, but the general consensus is that 'maghaweer' (special police forces of the Interior Ministry) and Shiite militias had come to the neighborhood (for random arrests and killings) and so the residents of Adhamiya started to defend their neighborhood. Apparently, American forces moved in by morning time to bring some order to the problem. Check out this website for another personal account: www.baghdadtreasures.blogspot.com.
Mammy told us that their area was cordoned off, and the kids had stayed home from school. She told me that 'even during the war days, we did not have a day/night like this.' I can only imagine what it was like for them. One of the times we had a gun fight on our street, it lasted for 15 long minutes, and I was home alone with my daughter. The gun shots were crazy loud, and I had no idea what was happening, but I was smiling and laughing for my baby daughter's sake. She didn't understand what was happening, so she was smiling back to me, thankfully. And I have been awakened a few times in the middle of the night by loud explosions and gun fights many streets away. Now to imagine something like this , all night long, right outside your window, wow. I realize why they couldn't sleep all night long.
Pray for peace and security in Iraq.
UPDATE: I just found an article on washingtonpost.com about the situation, "Clashes in Sunni district of Baghdad": www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/17/AR2006041700026.html
Also, Al Jazeera news just reported that fighting is going on between Adhamiya residents and forces dressed in the Iraqi police uniform.
Why would the residents of Adhamiya feel a need to defend their neighborhood? See article mentioned in my blog on 'Al Mahdi Army.'