Forces sweep Shiite militia areas

first_imgIRAQ: In pre-dawn raid, troops capture 30 suspected fighters linked to Muqtada al-Sadr. By Steven R. Hurst THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BAGHDAD – U.S. and Iraqi forces, backed by Polish army helicopters, swept through Shiite militia strongholds south of Baghdad on Saturday, rounding up dozens of militants and killing two. The prime minister met the provincial governor, who called for reinforcements to root out “the criminals.” Coalition forces reported no casualties but said two militants were killed in the sweep.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Iraqi police said 30 suspected fighters linked to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army were grabbed in a pre-dawn house-to-house search by U.S. and Iraqi raiders in two eastern neighborhoods in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad. Rival Shiite militias are engaged in grabs for power in the oil-rich south of the country, as British forces are drawing down. But U.S. commanders have reported significant inroads against both Shiite militias and al-Qaida in Iraq fighters across the fertile agriculture belt nearer to the capital. They credit local residents, emboldened against the terror tactics of both al-Qaida and Shiite militants, with much of the success. The residents have bought into a trend that started in Iraq’s western Anbar province, where Sunni tribesmen rose up against al-Qaida and have methodically hunted them down in conjunction with U.S. forces. South of the capital, Shiite militiamen are facing the same onslaught in communities where they have terrorized co-religionists. On Diwaniyah’s east side, U.S.-led ground forces backed by two Polish army helicopters came under fire from machine guns and an anti-tank grenade launcher, the military said. last_img

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