Baghdad Curfew Lifted; Basra Violence Slows

Move comes a day after Sadr ordered militants to stand down
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2008 8:31 AM CDT
Men clean up the al-Qaim mosque after it was damaged in an airstrike, in Basra, Iraq, Monday, March 31, 2008. One person was killed in the airstrike, police said.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Baghdad authorities lifted a 3-day-old curfew today as violence ebbed and soldiers from Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army began to heed his call yesterday to stand down, reports the AFP. The southern city of Basra also eased its curfew as 6 days of violent clashes wound down, although the BBC reported sporadic gunfire and parts of the city that were still under Mahdi Army control.

Mahdi militants "are following Sadr's orders," one soldier said. "But we are ready, should the Americans come inside our district, to fight." The US military today reported an additional 41 deaths of "criminals," which brought the 6-day fatality total to more than 320.