No Sign of Basra Uprising

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Al-Jazeera television says there are no signs of unrest in the southern Iraqi city of Basra despite reports that an uprising against President Saddam Hussein may have started there.

“The streets of Basra are very calm and there are no indications of violence or riots,” Jazeera`s Basra correspondent Mohammed al-Abdallah told the Qatar-based network on Wednesday.

“There are no signs of the reported uprising. All we can hear are distant explosions in the southeast, and we believe fighting is going on there.”

Jazeera is one of few international networks with a correspondent in Basra, Iraq`s second city where British forces on Tuesday attacked specific targets and captured a top official of Saddam`s Baath party.

Later, chief-of-staff Major General Peter Wall said there were indications a revolt might be underway in Basra, a Shi`ite Muslim stronghold.

Reports of unrest first came from British reporters near the city, but these were denied by Iraq`s information minister.

The people of Basra rose up against Saddam`s Sunni-dominated government after the 1991 Gulf War, but their revolt was crushed