Saturday, June 23, 2018

Precarious truce in Iraqi city

BAGHDAD — A shaky cease-fire appeared to take hold Tuesday in Baghdad's Sadr City, after a cleric who brokered the deal for Shiite fighters said they would honor it even after clashes left at least 11 dead and 19 wounded.

The pact was intended to stop seven weeks of fighting between U.S.-supported Iraqi troops and Shiite extremists who have fired more than 1,000 mortars and rockets into the Green Zone, home to the government and Western embassies. But the cease-fire did not start well, with clashes late Monday and early Tuesday.

Iraqi medics reported 11 killed and 19 wounded, including women and children. The U.S. military said Tuesday it could confirm the deaths of six militants.

The Sadr City fighting and cease-fire have brought into question the authority of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who currently lives in Iran. Sadr signed a cease-fire agreement in August, but Shiite militiamen have recently ignored those orders.

"We signed an agreement and we are loyal to the agreement we reached," said Sheik Salah al-Obeidi, an aide to Sadr.

In violence in northern Iraq, a roadside bombing killed five Iraqi soldiers Tuesday in Mosul, police said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Iraqi troops and U.S. soldiers have launched an operation against Sunni extremists there.

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