Muqtada al-Sadr has extended the ceasefire of his Mahdi Army by six months, writes the Wall Street Journal, confirming yesterday's rumors from US officials. At midday prayers across Iraq imams read out the announcement of the Shiite cleric, who had been under pressure from some of his followers to allow the ceasefire to expire tomorrow.
Since al-Sadr's militia put down its weapons six months ago, violence has receded in Iraq and particularly in Baghdad. But some Sadrists have been angered that the American military have used the relative calm to arrest some members of the movement. But in a statement praising the cleric today, the military said that "those who dishonor the Sadr pledge are regrettably tarnishing both the name and the honor of the movement."