Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Report: Iraqi forces withdraw after 5-hour battle with Sadr forces in Nasiriya

Soldiers from the 604th Battalion, Iraqi Army, practice reacting to contact during a training exercise at their training facility in Nasiriyah in 2005.

Iraqi security forces clashed with fighters loyal to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr for about five hours in the southern city of Nasiriya this morning, after soldiers arrested members of Mr. Sadr’s militia.

The battle, about 235 miles south of Baghdad, ended when Iraqi forces withdrew from the center of the city at about noon...

Saadi al-Majad, director of the Nasiriya hospital, said that three Iraqi soldiers were among the dead, Reuters reported. The news agency said a city official who did not want to be identified put the death toll at 10.

Mr. Sadr’s office called today for a ceasefire and an investigation into the cause of the clashes, saying that those involved should “stop Muslim bloodletting.”

Read the rest at the NY Times