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January 23, 2007

Crackdown "Nets 600 Sadr Forces"

One imagines they'll be held in those revolving-door "prisons" that the Palestinians made famous, though.

But the article, from the BBC, is more optimistic than I am, strangely enough.

About 600 fighters and 16 leaders of the radical Shia militia, the Mehdi Army, have been captured by security forces in Iraq, the US military says.

The statement said 52 operations had been conducted in 45 days targeting the militia, which is loyal to Najaf-based cleric Moqtada Sadr.

Sunni extremists were also the focus of the crackdown, the US military said.

US and Iraqi forces are currently preparing for a broad offensive in the strife-torn Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Now, all these killings and captures of Sadrists and Al Qaeda -- bear in mind, this is in preparation for the actual "broad offensive."

The military said five of the Mehdi Army leaders were detained in the pro-Sadr bastion, Sadr City. One senior figure was killed in a raid.

...

"Criminal activities by these individuals propagated instability within Iraq and their removal from the social structure is a critical start to providing the Iraqi populace with a safe and stable environment."

In addition, 33 Sunni extremist cell leaders were detained in Baghdad, the statement said.

...

The BBC's Andrew North in Baghdad says it is still not clear how significant the senior Mehdi Army figures now in custody are.

But this appears to be the beginnings of a harder line on this widely feared Shia militia, he says.

In the past, the Iraqi government has been criticised for turning a blind eye to Mehdi Army activities for political reasons.

A spokesman for the movement would not confirm the numbers detained, but he said they were now seeing Iraqi and US raids almost every day.

I think that's a sweet teaser-trailer. Can't wait for the actual movie.


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posted by Ace at 02:48 PM

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