Updated at 11:45 p.m. EDT, Mar. 25, 2008
The fragile ceasefire
unilaterally imposed by
Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on his followers may be unraveling. Clashes between
Iraqi security and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army are taking place in Basra and other cities,
even as al-Sadr asks
for a peaceful but nationwide sit-in to protest the unfair targeting of his followers.
Overall, at least 54 Iraqis were killed and 129 more were wounded across
American soldier was killed during a hostile fire attack this afternoon
in Baghdad. Also, curfews have been imposed
on Karbala, Wassit, Babel, Qadisiyah, Thi Qar, and in Basra provinces.
At least 31 people were killed
and 88 more were injured during clashes
in the southern city of Basra, where followers of al-Sadr battled against
Iraqi security forces, backed
by Coaliton air power. Although al-Sadr imposed a unilateral ceasefire on his
Mahdi Army, he has said that they are allowed to defend themselves from threats.
Should the fragile truce unravel, it could indicate an escalation of violence
throughout Iraq. Also, the U.S. military said that five
suspects were killed and 10 injured after being spotted by Coalition forces
while planting a roadside bomb. Coalition forces have mostly left the city, so
it is unknown which force was involved.
As many as 10
policemen were injured during clashes with the Mahdi Army in Aziziya.
The Mahdi Army is in
control of several neighborhoods in Kut as well. Mortar fire injured
In Hilla, two
guards were injured while fighting with gunmen at governor of Babel's home.
Gunmen attacked a patrol vehicle and injured
three Iraqi soldiers. A curfew has been imposed in the area.
battles between the Mahdi Army and the rival Shi'ite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council
have frightened residents
of Shi'ite neighborhoods, leading them to stay home and close shops and schools;
however, an al-Sadr spokesman denied
that clashes were taking place. No
casualties were reported after gunmen fired rockets during a peaceful sit-in
by al-Sadr followers in Abu Dsheer. Also, a Dawa Party office was set ablaze
in Sadr City. Also, in Sadr City, gunmen attacked a U.S. patrol; the patrol
returned fire and injured
five power plant workers.
In other developments, five
bodies were discovered across Baghdad. Two bombs left one
dead and eight wounded in Bab al-Sheikh. Meanwhile, rocket fire again
targeted the Green Zone;
three people were
injured. Six policemen were kidnapped
in the Maamil neighborhood; nearby, gunmen also attacked a police commando
checkpoint, but no casualties
were reported. Two policemen
were injured by falling mortar shells in al-Qanat. Two
Iraqi soldiers were injured during an attack on a checkpoint near al-Dabash
Bridge. Also, two Iraqi
soldiers were wounded during operations that netted 16 suspects.
dumped bodies were recovered. A mosque
employee was gunned down during a drive-by shooting. The director
of the forensic department was killed during an armed attack. Also, gunmen
the son of an official from a journalist's union.
killed a man
who lobbed a grenade at them.
A roadside bomb killed
two children and wounded two other civilians in Khatoon.
Awakening Council member was
killed northeast of the capital.
four Syrian hostages near Kirkuk. Twelve suspects were arrested
in a separate incident outside town.
Fifteen suspects were arrested
In Najaf, rockets landed
on an U.S. forces post. Meanwhile, Sadr followers demonstrated
in the streets while carrying Korans, Iraqi flags, and olive branches.
by Margaret Griffis