Saturday, February 24, 2007

Maliki: 400 'militants' killed in crackdown

Iraqi soldiers stand near the boy of a boy shot dead yesterday in a hunt for insurgents in Baghdad. The U.S. military announced that a second boy had died this morning.

BAGHDAD - US and Iraqi security forces have killed around 400 suspected militants since the start of a major crackdown to stem violence in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki said on Saturday.

Maliki visited the command centre for the operation which was launched 10 days ago and urged security forces taking part in it not to be influenced by sectarian loyalties.

He told reporters 426 suspected militants had been detained in the crackdown ‘and around that number have been killed’.

Maliki, a Shia Islamist criticised for not doing enough to combat Shia militias, has vowed to deal even-handedly with both Shia and Sunni Muslims responsible for violence that had been killing hundreds every week.

A statement from his office said the prime minister reminded security forces to ‘respect the citizen’ during searches.

‘We will punish all those who ease up on searches involving people from their sect or ethnicity,’ the statement said.

Read the rest at the Khaleej Times

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