Iraq’s Sadr declares renewal of ceasefire, U.S. welcome

February 22nd, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by admin  

Baghdad, Feb 22 (Xinhua) Iraq’s radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr Friday extended the six-month-old ceasefire of his Mahdi militia for six more months. “Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered that the activities of the Mahdi Army will be suspended for another six months,” Hazim al- Araji, a top aide of Sadr read out the statement during the ceremony of Friday prayer in Kadhimiyah neighborhood in northern Baghdad.

Copies of Sadr’s truce order was sent to all of Sadr offices in Iraq to be read after the Friday prayers in Shiite mosques all over Iraq.

“The declaration of the ceasefire stated that the extension will start from Feb 26, when the old ceasefire expires,” Shiek Abdul Hadi al-Mahammadawi, head of Sadr office in Karbala, told hundreds of worshippers in the holy City of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad.

The US military hailed the Sadr move describing it as an ” important commitment” to Iraqi security.

“This extension of his August 2007 pledge of honor to halt attacks is an important commitment that can broadly contribute to further improvements in security for all Iraqi citizens,” the US military said in a statement.

The military said that the declaration will “foster a better opportunity for national reconciliation,” and will let the US and Iraqi forces to focus on fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq network.

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