Iraqi forces enter Basra to mitigate tribal fighting

Published January 15th, 2016 - 02:00 GMT

The Iraqi government sent an army division and police force into the southern city of Basra to disarm residents amid fighting between rival Shia tribes, AFP reported.

The majority of crude oil exports in Iraq come from the oil fields around Basra, far from the parts of the country controlled by Daesh. But fighting among residents in the area has forced the government to dispatch resources to quell the violence.

"This security operation targets areas north of Basra that have an abundance of tribal clashes and will also include neighborhoods inside Basra city in the future," Jabar al-Saadi, head of the security committee at the Basra provincial council, told AFP.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi Wednesday called on security forces to "strike with an iron fist (against) the gangs that tamper with Basra's security."

Moving in with tanks and heavy machine guns, the forces entered Basra before dawn in the northern district of al-Hussein, Saadi said. 

Iraqi forces arrested around 30 people on criminal charges and also seized machine guns, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and ammunition.

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