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Archive for Monday, May 12, 2008

Cease-fire takes hold in Sadr City

May 12, 2008

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— The U.S. military expressed hope Sunday for a diplomatic solution to seven weeks of fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City as a fragile cease-fire settled over the Shiite slum that houses nearly half the capital's six million people.

No violence was reported as gunmen withdrew and shops reopened on the first day of the cease-fire brokered by Shiite lawmakers and representatives of Muqtada al-Sadr's political movement, who are thought to have influence over the extremists.

Al-Sadr followers distributed food in the neighborhood, residents said.

"We're doing limited operations in Sadr City as this implementation process takes place," said U.S. military spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll.

He warned a truce had not yet been brokered and that the Iraqi government and Shiite representatives were still talking.

"It is important to emphasize that it is an ongoing dialogue process," he said. "It is premature to say there is an agreed to truce."

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