Iraq: Sadr orders to continue truce
Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has ordered his Mehdi Army militia to maintain its six-month truce, the leader's spokesman said on Thursday, while his militiamen clashed with Iraqi and American troops.
Salah al-Ubaidi said the ceasefire, which expires later this month, should continue to be observed until militia members are told it is over or has been renewed. "Any member of the Mehdi Army who conducts violent acts during the ceasefire, the Sadr office declares they will no longer be part of the Mehdi Army," Sadr said in a statement read to Reuters by Ubaidi. According to him, Sadr had issued the statement in response to speculations that the ceasefire was about to come to an end.
Meanwhile, Iraqi police said Mehdi Army fighters had clashed with Iraqi and U.S. soldiers early on Thursday in Sadr City. At least 16 people were arrested, U.S. and Iraqi officials and witnesses said. The American military said one person died.
Also Thursday, gunmen stormed a house northeast of Baghdad, separated out the women and children inside and killed three brothers, police said, according to the AP. The attack happened early Thursday in the Muradiyah area near Baqouba, about 35 miles northeast of the capital.
The U.S. military also announced the death of a soldier killed by a roadside bomb a day earlier in western Baghdad.