Fleeing from violence: In the last two months over 1,000 people have died, most of them civilians, from street clashes in Baghdad’s Sadr City.
After a seven week surge in violent street clashes and an estimated 1,000 civilian deaths in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad alone, U.S. and Iraqi forces are now preparing an overwhelming military offensive they hope will completely annihilate active Shia resistance movements and pacify the area, making it safe for occupation.
The authorities in Baghdad say they are preparing for an exodus of thousands of people from eastern parts of the city.
Fighting between government and US troops on one side, and Shia militia on the other, has intensified recently.
Two football stadiums are on stand-by to receive residents from two neighbourhoods in the Sadr City area.
The government has warned of an imminent push to clear the areas of members of the Mehdi Army, loyal to the anti-American cleric, Moqtada Sadr.