Iraq's Maliki extends deadline for Mahdi Army

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki extended Friday the deadline for the Shiite Mahdi Army to lay down its weapons until April 8, media reports said.

Iraq's Maliki extends deadline for Mahdi Army
Al-Jazeera news channel said al-Maliki, who has launched an assault against fighters in the southern city of Basra, has extended the time period for the Mahdi Army, loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, to submit all its weapons by April 8.

On Wednesday, al-Maliki set a 72-hour deadline for Shiite fighters to lay down their arms or face "severe penalties."

Meanwhile, clashes between Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters in Basra raged Friday for the fourth day as unrest spread to other Shiite cities and Baghdad.

Nearly 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers are involved in the operation, which is directed by al-Maliki, who is the general commander of the armed forces.

Agencies
Last Mod: 28 Mart 2008, 14:37
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