Iraqi Troops Step Up Fighting in Basra
Iraqi forces on Tuesday launched an offensive targeting Shiite militia groups in the southern city of Basra, where at least 30 deaths are reported to have occurred in the operation, as well as in other regions of the country.
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Oil-rich Basra is in the grip of a bitter turf war between armed groups, including the Mehdi Army, analysts say.
Clashes have spread to other parts of Iraq, including Baghdad’s Sadr City, where the Mehdi Army fought rival Shia.
The Mehdi Army — which supports radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr — has threatened a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience.
The powerful militia declared a truce last August which had been credited with helping restore stability to parts of Iraq.
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