[quote13907c589c]BAGHDAD - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr offered Sunday to pull his fighters off the streets of Basra and other cities if the government halts raids against his followers and releases prisoners held without charge.
The offer was contained in a nine-point statement issued by his headquarters in Najaf.
An Iraqi government spokesman welcomed al-Sadr's order, saying it was "positive and responsive."
Al-Sadr demanded that the government issue a general amnesty and release all detainees. The statement said he also "disavows" anyone who carries weapons and targets government institutions, charities and political party offices.
"Because of the religious responsibility, and to stop Iraqi blood being shed, and to maintain the unity of Iraq and to put an end to this sedition that the occupiers and their followers want to spread among the Iraqi people, we call for an end to armed appearances in Basra and all other provinces," al-Sadr's statement said.
"Anyone carrying a weapon and targeting government institutions will not be one of us," the statement said.
Iraqi government troops have been battling fighters loyal to al-Sadr in Basra for six days. The fighting has spread to other towns in southern Iraq and neighborhoods of Baghdad, exposing a deep rift with Iraq's majority Shiite community.[/quote13907c589c]
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
thanks for making me laugh on this sunni day
i'm thinking Al-sadr might be playing a joke on us since April fool's day is coming
[quote24ca3305bf="puppeteer"]i'm thinking Al-sadr might be playing a joke on us since April fool's day is coming[/quote24ca3305bf]
April Fools; That ancient Islamic tradition.