Russia and the Middle East
Mon, 21 june 2021Mon
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Sadr pulls his fighters off Iraq's streets

Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his fighters off Iraq's streets Sunday in a move which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki welcomed as a "step in the right direction" after several days of heavy fighting. "We want the Iraqi people to stop this bloodshed and maintain Iraq's independence and stability," Sadr said in a statement with his seal released by his headquarters in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf in central Iraq. "For that we have decided to withdraw from the streets of Basra and all other provinces."  

Sadr's call came after battles since Tuesday between Shiite fighters and Iraqi forces in the southern port city of Basra, Baghdad and several other Shiite regions had killed at least 270 people.

He made the decision as it was his "legitimate responsibility to stop the bleeding of Iraqis, to maintain the reputation of Iraqi people, the unity of land and people, to prepare for its independence and liberation from the dark forces and to quell the fire of division by the occupier and its followers."