(dpa) - At least four civilians were killed Thursday during a US air strike on a house in the southern city of Basra, while Iraqi forces detained a Shiite party leader and his three brothers, witnesses and media reports said.
A US air strike hit a house in the Kobla district in Basra, killing four civilians and levelling the house, witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
In other news, sources at Iraq's defence ministry told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency that Iraqi army forces detained the leader of Thaar-allah Shiite party.
The Shiite party leader, Youssef Sinawy, was taken from his house in Nowab al-Dobat district. Forces also arrested his three brothers and killed his security guard after engaging in heavy clashes with the Iraqi troops.
Sources told VOI that Sinawy is listed among the targeted militants in the security operation launched by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
The security offensive was launched on March 25 by government troops backed by US and British forces to loosen the grip of militias and gangs over the Shiite-dominated city.
Sinawy is the leader of the Shiite Party Thaar-allah, which was established in 2005 as a political movement. It became a party after elections in Basra city.
In 2006, the Shiite party has been involved in several clashes with the Iraqi police. Since then, Thaar-Allah has been accused by the Iraqi forces of committing violent crimes in the city.