Iraqi offensive in Basra ‘bold’, says Bush

March 28th, 2008 - 12:24 am ICT by admin  

Washington, March 27 (DPA) Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s assault against Shia militants in the southern city of Basra was “bold” and demonstrates the growing capability of Iraq’s security forces, US President George W. Bush said Thursday. Al-Maliki’s “bold decision to go after the illegal groups in Basra shows his leadership and his commitment to enforce the law in an even handed manner,” Bush said in Dayton, Ohio.

Bush accused Iran of backing the militants who had taken Basra as a stronghold until the offensive began earlier this week. Al-Maliki has given the militias 72 hours to surrender their arms or face “severe penalties”.

Nearly 30,000 Iraqi troops are involved in the assault against the militias in Basra. Al-Maliki has also gone after militants in parts of Baghdad affiliated with radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Bush touted the Iraqi offensive as a sign the Iraqi security forces have grown in strength under the breathing room provided by the US troop surge he ordered last year.

“The ultimate result will be these terrorist and extremists in Iraq will know they have no place in a free and democratic society,” Bush said.

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