Eight dead in clashes as Iraqi PM sets conditions for military assaults
Sporadic overnight clashes between Shiite gunmen and US and Iraqi troops in Baghdad's Sadr City killed at least eight people, including a woman, Iraqi officials said on Sunday. At least 44 people were injured in the fighting, which started around 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) and continued off and on until daybreak, the interior ministry and defence and medical officials said.
"Eight people were killed, including a woman," a medical official said, according to AFP.
The clashes came despite a call by Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr on Friday for an end to fighting between Iraqi security forces and his Mahdi Army militia, who dominate Sadr City.
In an interview aired by Al-Arabiya television on Saturday, Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki set four conditions for ending the military assaults. "We have four demands, not more, that all those carrying arms -- not just the Mahdi Army -- should adhere to," Maliki told the Dubai-based news channel.
"Handing in all heavy and medium weapons, and not interfering in the work of government departments," Maliki said spelling out his first two conditions, in excerpts of the interview.
"Never interfere in the tasks of the police and army, so that police and army would operate everywhere -- in Sadr City, Basra and Mosul -- without any objections," he added. Maliki also demanded the "handing in of the wanted."