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Iraqi Forces Surround Al-Sadr’s ‘Office Block’

From those friends of terror at Al Jazeera:

Iraqi police patrol the southern city of Basra.

Iraqi forces surround Sadr office

Friday April 18, 2008

Iraqi troops have surrounded an office block used by supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Shia al-Mahdi Army, in the southern city of Basra.

Al-Sadr’s supporters criticised the move on Friday as a “provocation”, but the government said its operation was aimed only at recovering offices unfairly occupied by political groups.

Sheikh Harith al-Athari, the head of the Basra office, said: “The police and the army have laid siege to Sadr’s office in Basra.

“They have also stopped people from attending Friday prayers. The forces, backed by armoured vehicles, have asked us to leave the building.”

General Abdel Karim Khalaf, an interior ministry spokesman, said the operation had been approved by Nuri al-Maliki, the prime minister.

He said that al-Maliki had ordered government troops to take possession of all government buildings in Basra within 48 hours.

Journalists in Basra reported that al-Sadr supporters had refused to leave.

Salah al-Obeidi, a Sadr spokesman from Najaf, in central Iraq, called the move “a provocation that will induce people to resort to force”.

“The objective of the security forces is to further aggravate tensions and it shows the government’s claims that it is not targeting Sadr supporters to be false,” he said.

The al-Sadr office in Basra is in an old Olympic committee building…

This could get very interesting.

And of course it is long overdue.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 18th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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