Iraqi PM Flips, Calls Off Raids on Militias

Maliki extends olive branch to Sadr after Basra battle
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 9:48 AM CDT
Iraqis display banners of Shiite radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr during a protest march in the neighborhood of Shula in northwest Baghdad, Thursday, April 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Nouri al Maliki reversed course today, ordering a stop to raids against suspected Mahdi Army militants. The move is an apparent olive branch to Shiite rival Muqtada al Sadr, who had complained that raids against his militia fighters were continuing, even after he’d ordered them off the streets. Just yesterday, Maliki was calling for raids in both Basra and Sadr City.

Maliki said he wanted to give a “chance to those who repented and want to lay down their arms,” offering amnesty to anyone who did so. He also promised to pay for any property damage caused by the fighting in Basra. Meanwhile, a suicide bomber struck a police funeral north of Baghdad today, killing at least 15, the AP reports.