Updated at 12:20 a.m. EDT, Apr. 1, 2008
Relative calm has returned
to most of Iraq today as Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's truce with Prime Minister
Nouri al-Maliki's government seems to be holding. New violence left at least 50
Iraqis killed and another 45 wounded. Also, the remains
of an American soldier listed as captured since 2004 were located and
identified, and an American
soldier was killed during an IED attack this afternoon.
between al-Sadr's militia and the central government appears
to be holding. Sporadic attacks tangentially associated with al-Sadr's Mahdi Army
are still taking place, but last week's violent outburst is over. During weekend
talks, the Sadrists gave al-Maliki a face-saving exit from the crackdown he instituted
in Basra under the guise of a security operation. Because the operation focused
only on neighborhoods already controlled by al-Sadr and ignored other militant
groups, the Sadrists, and many analysts, believe that the operation was merely
to destroy al-Sadr's power base before October elections.
The Mahdi Army
will continue observing their self-imposed truce only if concessions
are met, but there may already be signs that the Maliki government is unwilling
to compromise despite their political and military losses. Curfews remain
in three al-Sadr strongholds in Baghdad, and Maliki has said
that "security operations will continue" in Basra.
reported that 210 people
were killed, 600 were wounded and 155 more were detained during last week's operations
in Basra. There is no breakdown between Mahdi Army, other groups and military
casualties. At the end of the operation, the Mahdi Army was in control of more
of Basra than beforehand. In Sadr City, the total number of casualties
brought to a pair of hospitals
was 109 dead and 634 wounded. Many people were also killed
in Baghdad's other Shi'ite neighborhoods, and throughout the southern provinces,
where relative calm has also returned.
In Baghdad, relative calm
has returned to Shi'ite neighborhoods and the curfews have mostly been lifted;
however, Sadr City remains closed
off. Because of the vehicle curfew ambulances were unable to attend to casualites
left after a U.S. air strike. Eight
people were killed and 15 more were wounded in the attack. U.S. forces killed
two suspects and detained five others around the capital. Yesterday, another
suspects were killed before the truce went into effect, and 25 were killed
in an already reported air strike. One
Iraqi soldier was killed and 14 more were wounded during security operations,
including one where three
suspects were killed. Also, the spokesmen for the Baghdad security plan was
released after being held
by gunmen since Thursday.
dumped bodies were recovered across the capital. The Green Zone was
again attacked with mortars, which injured
four civilians. In Karrada, mortars injured
two people. Two
policemen were injured during a roadside bombing in Mansour.
Six dumped bodies were found
in Latifiya. They were handcuffed, blindfolded and shot.
Awakening Council (Sahwa) members were killed during clashes with al-Qaeda
suspects near Buhriz.
In Fallujah, a roadside bomb targeting
an Iraqi army patrol wounded
a civilian instead. One
person was killed and four were injured during a bicycle bomb attack.
civilian was killed and three were wounded when a roadside bomb blasted their
truck in Balad Ruz.
Six suspects were captured
A curfew was partially
lifted in Nasariya.
belonging to a security volunteer was found in Mahaweel.
the sheikh of the al-Lahaib tribe was released
from U.S. custody. Two
bodies were recovered, while a civilian
was gunned down.
A journalist was arrested
In Muqdadiyah, two
bodyguards belonging to a vice governor were killed.
by Margaret Griffis