Updated at 12:45 a.m. EDT, April 26, 2008
Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr clarified recent comments about “open war” and urged his followers to observe the ceasefire. At least 44 Iraqis were killed and another 128 were wounded across Iraq. An IED killed an American soldier south of Baghdad. Also, a delegation of lawmakers wanting to assess the security situation in Basra were denied access.
In a statement read to followers during Friday prayers, al-Sadr again urged his followers to observe a unilateral cease-fire he imposed on them last summer. He also clarified recent statements about “open war” should the Iraqi government not hold up their end of a truce that was worked out after recent clashes in Basra. He does not want Iraqis of any sect to attack each other. Instead, he hopes they will unite to fight the occupation, if he should declare the cease fire over. A senior aide said that the Sadrists hope the statement will further curb the violence in Sadr City and Basra. Attacks between the Mahdi army and Iraqi security forces followed a “security crackdown” that many analysts believe was attempt to sideline al-Sadr ahead of elections.
In Baghdad, three bodies were found overnight. A roadside bomb wounded three in Adhamiya. Gunmen attacked a checkpoint, injuring three Iraqi soldiers; the soldiers then killed five gunmen. U.S. forces killed 10 suspects in northeastern Baghdad and arrested five in a southern neighborhood.
Hospital sources in Sadr City reported that 11 people were killed and 74 others were wounded in overnight clashes. Women were among the casualties.
A grenade was lobbed at a wedding in Basra. One child was killed and 25 attendees were wounded. A delegation of lawmakers was denied access to the city despite the presence of important political figues such as Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Interior Minister Jawad al-Bulani.
In Mosul, gunmen killed one man and wounded a second; both were fishing on the Tigris River. In a separate incident, a policeman was shot and killed. Two bodies were also found. Also, two policemen were abducted.
Gunmen killed a man in Hilla; six people were arrested in connection with the shooting.
Two people were shot and killed in Iskandariya.
A roadside bomb in Yusufiya killed one person and wounded a second.
A newscaster was shot and killed in Basra.
In Fallujah, one person was killed and four more were injured when a bomb planted at a mosque exploded.
A roadside bomb wounded a civilian in Tal Afar.
In Mahaweel, two people were arrested after they shot and wounded an Iraqi policeman.
Young men were turned away from Najaf.
Gunmen attacked an Iraqi patrol in Wajihiya, killing one officer and injuring three soldiers.
In Safra, Iraqi army forces injured a man planting a bomb. As they defused the bomb, the suspect ran away.
Two separate roadside bombs in Udhaim, left one Iraqi army officer injured.
A policeman and a civilian were injured during a roadside bombing in Kirkuk.
In Tikrit, a police officer was killed when he cranked up his car’s engine and that detonated a bomb.
A U.S. air strike in Jalam killed three al-Qaeda suspects and their Saudi Arabian leader.
A large weapons cache was found in Anbar province.
Eight oil guards were injured when a bomb blew up an oil pipeline in Jilawiya.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis
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