Al-Sadr threatens 'open war' in Iraq

Muqtada al-Sadr gave a "final warning" to the government Saturday to halt a U.S.-Iraqi crackdown against his followers or he would declare "open war until liberation."

Al-Sadr threatens 'open war' in Iraq

Al-Sadr's warning appeared on his Web site as Iraq's Shiite-dominated government claimed success in a new push against Shiite fighters in the southern city of Basra.

Fighting claimed 14 more lives in Sadr City, the Baghdad stronghold of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

"So I am giving my final warning ... to the Iraqi government ... to take the path of peace and abandon violence against its people," al-Sadr said. "If the government does not refrain ... we will declare an open war until liberation."

According to the Interior Ministry, at least 280 Iraqis have been killed in Sadr City fighting since March 25, including gunmen, security forces and civilians.

The warning comes nearly four weeks after Iraqi forces launched a crackdown against Shia militia groups in Basra and Baghdad's Sadr City.

The Mahdi Army, al-Sadr's own force, is concentrated in both the areas.

Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Nisan 2008, 17:28
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