The Iraqi government dismissed 1,300 policemen and soldiers for failing to adequately perform their duties during clashes with Shia militiamen in the country's south.
The move was an acknowledgement of failures in an offensive against the militias, which started in the southern oil hub of
Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul-Karim al-Khalaf said more than 900 were fired in
Iraqi officials had previously acknowledged that 1,000 soldiers failed to fight in the offensive, which was the biggest operation the government had launched without backing from large
The fighting, which has continued over the past week in Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, brought an end to a long trend of declining violence and raised doubts about the competence and readiness of Iraqi forces.
More than 100 people have been killed in
The fighting has highlighted the fragility of security gains seen in
A Reuters reporter who spent the night in
Iraqi forces appeared to be blocking some road exits from
“We didn’t have any casualties overnight, but we don’t want to get too optimistic,” said Qasim al-Mudalal, director of the Imam Ali hospital. “We hope this will continue, that we get some breathing space and the suffering of the city comes to an end.”
In a statement issued by Sadr’s office in the holy Shi’ite city of
“You (infidels) will always be an enemy and you will remain so until the last drop of my blood,” Sadr said in the statement, issued in response to comments the previous day from
Gates had said Sadr would not be treated as a foe by the
Sadrists say Maliki’s crackdown is aimed at preventing them from challenging the prime minister’s supporters in provincial elections this year.
Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters that a draft law governing the elections, which are scheduled for October, would explicitly bar participation by any groups with armed factions, a move that will anger Sadr’s followers.
In an incident on Saturday in the New Baghdad district, adjacent to
One missile killed two militants but the second “overshot”, setting alight a U.S. Humvee vehicle and nearby houses, the
“(These) events are unfortunate and our apologies go out to those innocent civilians who were affected,” Colonel Bill Buckner, a military spokesman, said in a statement.
Date created : 2008-04-13