Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Odierno: Most members of Mahdi Army obeying freeze on activity

Left: Sheik Ali al-Siedi, a spokesman for Sadr, holds a press conference in Basra today where he said,'the withdrawal of British troops was the result of resistance pressure by the Mahdi Army and not planned as stated by Britain's Prime Minister'.

Most members of the Mahdi Army militia of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr appear to be following his command to freeze their armed activities, a top US military commander said on Tuesday.

"The majority of them are paying attention to him," Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, the number two commander of US-led forces in Iraq, told a group of foreign reporters at a military base in Baghdad.

Odierno said the cleric's Baghdad bastion of Sadr City had been "quiet" since the cleric called his militia to heel...

Odierno said the Karbala clashes occurred when members of "Jaysh al-Mahdi (Mahdi Army) and police came in contention during a holy time."

"That had an effect on them. That is the reason Sadr had a ceasfire," Odierno said.

He said, however, that Baghdad's fortified Green Zone -- the seat of the Iraqi government, the US embassy and the British embassy -- was hit by a rocket on Monday fired from Sadr City.

Read the rest at Middle East Online

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