The radical Shia Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr has defied a call by the Iraqi government for his powerful Mehdi Army militia to lay down its weapons.
Arms would only be handed over to an Iraqi government willing to end the US occupation, his senior official in Basra said. Security forces have been trying to wrest control of the southern city and other Shia areas from the Mehdi Army.
Fighting has claimed at least 200 lives across Iraq since Tuesday. US jets have carried out a number of air strikes in Basra, which they say are targeting militant positions.
And now I’m wondering if anybody is surprise from this response!