Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Iraqi troops welcomed in Sadr City for first time

"BAGHDAD — Iraqi security forces entered Baghdad 's Sadr City in large numbers on Tuesday for the first time since followers of anti-American cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed two weeks ago to let them in.
No U.S. troops accompanied the Iraqi forces. The agreement specifically barred Americans from entering the Shiite Muslim enclave.

"This is entirely an Iraqi-led, planned and executed operation," said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, the U.S. military spokesman for Baghdad operations.
Stover said the latest action was a high point for both Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government.
"It shows they are committed to unifying their country, ridding their country of criminal and terrorist elements and they're taking decisive action," Stover said.
Residents said Sadr City had returned to relative normality. Weeks of violence had kept residents inside or forced them to flee. On Tuesday, people were in the streets and shopping, and schools were open."

McClatchy Washington Bureau 05/20/2008 Iraqi troops welcomed in Sadr City for first time:

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