Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Iraqi security forces enter Sadr City alone

BAGHDAD — Iraki security military units entered Baghdad's Sadr City in big Numbers on Tuesday for the first clip since following of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr agreed two hebdomads ago to allow them in.

No U.S. military personnel accompanied the Iraki forces. The understanding specifically barred Americans from entering the Shiite Moslem enclave.

In a symbolical gesture, representatives of al-Sadr and a grouping of tribal sheikhs met the Iraki military units with a transcript of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, to welcome their presence into the city.

Sadr City was the scene of crisp clangs pitting U.S. military personnel and Iraki authorities military units against al-Sadr's Mahdi Army reserves for nearly two months. Hundreds of people were killed in the clashes, including tons of civilians caught in the crossfire. Hundreds more were wounded.

"The state of affairs now is very quiet in Sadr City. You can happen the Iraki Army inch the streets," said Nima Abu Zahra, a spokesman for al-Sadr in Sadr City. "So far, there's no problem. The Iraki military units are welcome."

Zahra said two sectors of the metropolis were searched; there was no information on what the military personnel found.

The understanding was brokered on May 9 and lets Iraki security military units to come in all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to collar anyone establish with heavy weapons. It also necessitates that Mahdi Army following not be arrested without warrants unless they are in the ownership of heavy arms.

No U.S. military units were allowed into the vicinity under the agreement.

"This is entirely an Iraqi-led, planned and executed operation," said Lt. Col. Steve Stover, the U.S. armed forces spokesman for Bagdad operations.

A welcome presenceStover said the up-to-the-minute action was a high point for both Iraki security military units and the Iraki government.

"It demoes they are committed to consolidative their country, ridding their state of criminal and terrorist elements and they're taking decisive action," Stover said.

Residents said Sadr City had returned to relative normality. Weeks of force had kept occupants inside or forced them to flee. On Tuesday, people were in the streets and shopping, and schools were open.

"With the presence of the Iraki Army we can state the state of affairs is more than stable," said Waleed Hassen, 38.

Several occupants commended the presence of Iraki military units and were happy U.S. military personnel were not in the area.

"Iraqi soldiers are smiling and saying hello to everybody," said Hamza Sadri, 23. "Our children love the Iraki soldiers because the children cognize these soldiers belong to Iraq, not to America."

Residents said that soldiers blanketed the streets and that they expected routine hunts of places to continue.

Operations to continueAccording to Iraki Brig. Gen. Qassim Atta, the military units that entered Sadr City Tuesday came from the Iraki Army and National Police.

An progress contingent had gone into the country last hebdomad to take wayside bombs. Atta said they had removed 100 bombs in that operation.

The Iraki military did not supply a precise figure of how many military personnel had entered Sadr City.

"Iraqi security military units will remain in Sadr City depending on the developments of the security state of affairs in the city," Atta said in a televised news conference Tuesday. "The figure of military personnel is enough to accomplish security and stability."

Atta said that the security military units looked for arms and wanted people.

He described Tuesday's activities as the "first phase" of the operation and said three more than would follow.

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