Updated at 12:10 a.m. EDT, Mar. 31, 2008
After almost a week of
heavy fighting throughout the southern provinces and Baghdad, clashes between
the Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces may be drawing to and end. Shi'ite cleric
Moqtada al-Sadr has offered
a truce as he called on the government to stop their raids. In the latest
reports, 144 Iraqis were killed and another 59 were wounded. No Coalition
deaths were reported.
The spiritual leader of the Mahdi Army, Moqtada
al-Sadr, has offered a truce
to Iraqi security forces battling his followers in a number of southern provinces
and in Shi'ite neighborhoods of Baghdad. He is ordering
his militia to stand down, but whether the truce holds is contingent on the government
ending their raids. The clashes began when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki imposed
a security crackdown on Basra. Analysts believe the crackdown was an attempt to
diminish the Sadrists power base before October elections. The Mahdi Army had
been observing a unilateral cease-fire when al-Maliki targeted them. The Iraqi
government welcomed the offer, but Sadr's followers doubted
the government would comply.
An IED killed
an American soldier today in Baghdad. A Marine
was killed yesterday during an armed and IED attack in Anbar Province.
A new mass grave was found near Muqdadiyah. This one contained 14
bodies bearing torture evidence. Some may have been in the grave as long as
In Baghdad, clashes involving the Mahdi Army left six
wounded in the Ur neighborhood. Three
policemen were wounded during an attack on their New Baghdad police
station. A mortar attack in Karada killed
six people and wounded 21 others. Mortar shelling in the Green Zone
and Doura left no
casualties. Clashes took place
in Shula. Two dumped
bodies were found yesterday, and five
more were found today. A U.S. air attack left 25
dead after gunmen attacked a U.S. patrol. Also, a roadside bomb in Adhamiya
killed an Iraqi
soldier and wounded two others.
In Mosul, three
policemen were killed and four others were wounded during an ambush. Police
colonel and a policeman were killed during clashes with gunmen. A suicide
bomber blew up a school; one
civilian was injured. Two
gunmen were killed and a third was wounded after a U.S. helicopter attack.
body was found. Also, the brother of a former minister was kidnapped.
Near Baiji in Saniya, a car bomb killed
seven people and wounded eight. Three of the dead were Awakening Council (Sahwa)
five policemen and wounded two civilians in Dhuluiya.
the head of the Diyala provincial council escaped an assassination attempt that
left two bodyguards dead.
Three Sahwa members
were wounded during a roadside bombing in Hawija.
a roadside bomb killed an Iraqi
army officer and two soldiers.
A roadside bomb in Kirkuk left
A raid near Muqdadiyah in al-Jizani left one
gunman dead and four wounded.
An air strike killed
three people in Basra.
civilian was killed and another was injured during a U.S. airstrike in Wajihiyah.
A civilian was
killed in the crossfire between gunmen and Iraqi forces in Kanaan.
In Hilla, 101 suspects were detained.
Mahdi Army fighters were killed and 30 more detained in al-Hamza.
U.S. forces killed
55 gunmen across central and southern Iraq.
A Sahwa council
to protect the highways around Tuz Khormato.
A 60-member police
force was sacked
in Nasariya for not engaging the Mahdi Army.
by Margaret Griffis