Iraq government says 120 ”enemy” fighters killed in Basra
At least 120 "enemy" fighters have been killed in a four-day-old Iraqi military operation against Shi'ite militias in the southern oil city of Basra, a senior Iraqi commander said on Friday. "So far the sighted casualties are 120 killed from the enemy and 450 wounded," Major-General Ali Zaidan, commander of Iraqi ground forces in the operation, told Reuters.
The government of Iraq is giving people in Basra until April 8th to surrender what are described as "heavy and medium-size weapons." A government adviser stated people who comply will get an unspecified amount of money as a reward.
According to the AP, Friday's ultimatum by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is separate from the three-day ultimatum he laid down for Shiite gunmen in the city to surrender their weapons and renounce violence or face harsh consequences. Al-Maliki has decided to skip this weekend's Arab summit in Damascus amid fighting in Basra.
Meanwhile, a British military official said coalition jets have dropped bombs on Basra for the first time since clashes erupted this week. The official conveyed Iraq security forces asked for airstrikes on at least two locations.