Budding artists at Baghdad's School of Music and Ballet might dream of fame, but few would care to boast of their talents in violence-racked Iraq where religious extremists frown on music and condemn dancing. The school, which was looted after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, is tucked away behind the main Iraqi army base in the capital, one that has been targetted at least five times by car bombers.
Confusion reigned on Monday over the fate of Saddam Hussein's long-time right-hand man, following conflicting claims by Iraqi government and security officials over the capture of Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri. Meanwhile, a Turkish truck driver was reportedly released after his employer promised to stop its business in Iraq.
Iraq's United States-backed caretaker government cried victory on Friday in its 19-day standoff with Shi'ite Muslim militiamen in Najaf, but on the ground rebel fighters remained firmly in control of their stronghold in the city's holiest shrine. "Not a lick of truth to [the victory claims]," said a US defence official on Friday.