BAGHDAD — Artillery fire and bomb blasts shook a militia-held district in the southern city of Basra today as U.S. and British forces backed up Iraqi troops launching a new offensive in the area.
The fighting was concentrated in Hyaniyah, in western Basra, a stronghold of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr and his Mahdi Army. Witnesses who spoke on condition of anonymity because of security concerns said Iraqi forces were trying to wrest control of the area from the Mahdi Army, known by its Arabic acronym JAM.
"JAM tried to prevent them from entering, but fierce air strikes enabled the Iraqi Army to take over control of the main streets and roads in Hayaniyah," one witness said. - LA Times
Stop the fighting!