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Iraqi, US Forces Attack Baghdad’s Sadr City

From an outraged Reuters:

Fighting erupts in Baghdad after week of calm

By Wisam Mohammed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi government troops backed by U.S. forces swept into the Sadr City slum at dawn on Sunday, triggering the worst violence in Baghdad since Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called his fighters off the streets a week ago.

Police said at least 22 people had died in the fighting. Officials at Sadr City’s two hospitals said at least 16 bodies had arrived and 78 wounded people were treated.

Iraqi army troops were moving through two southern sectors of the Shi’ite slum of Sadr City, said U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Stover. U.S. helicopters fired at least two Hellfire missiles, killing nine fighters, he added.

The fighting follows a week of relative calm after a crackdown by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Sadr followers led to battles across the capital and the south late last month…

Police said a joint operation by the U.S. military and Iraqi forces had started in the early hours of Sunday. Gunfire could be heard throughout the day in Sadr City, the bastion of Sadr’s Mehdi Army and home to 2 million people in eastern Baghdad.

“I have lost my cousin in these clashes today. I think Maliki will be happy now,” a Mehdi Army street commander who gave his name as Abu Ammar told Reuters.

U.S. Apache helicopter gunships swooped overhead and a column of black smoke towered over the Jamila market, a vast bazaar on the edge of the slum that supplies food for much of the eastern half of capital.

“Criminals fired rockets and they hit the Jamila market. I don’t know how many people they killed,” Stover said. An Interior Ministry source said the fire blazed untended for hours, with firefighters unable to reach the market.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have imposed a blockade on vehicle traffic in and out of Sadr City for two weeks. Residents of the besieged slum describe skyrocketing food prices, rubbish piling up and the claustrophobia of being trapped indoors.

“We haven’t been able to sleep since this fighting started two weeks ago,” said Wardan Ali, a student from Sadr City forced to walk 10 km (6 miles) on foot each way to university because of the blockade.

Sadr’s bloc in parliament denounced the raids.

“The intervention of U.S forces is horrible and unjustified. Some people in Sadr city believe these forces will hunt and kill them,” said Hassan Hashem, a Sadrist member of parliament’s security committee.

“We demand the government intervene to end the serious deterioration in security in Sadr City and halt immediately the military incursion.” …

Gee, it sounds like the Iraqi forces are finally cleaning up the sewer that is the holy city of Sadr.

How horrible for the Democrats and their lickspittle media minions.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, April 6th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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