US air strike on Baghdad's Shiite area ahead of ceasefire
The stronghold of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia in Baghdad's Sadr City has been bombed overnight by US aircraft hours before a deal to end the fighting in the area comes into effect, witnesses said Sunday, dpa reported.
" US aircraft has bombed Sadr City Saturday night and in the early hours on Sunday," witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The Iraqi government has agreed to a ceasefire with the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to end the fighting in their stronghold.
Under the 14-point agreement, the militiamen are to lay down their arms, end public displays of arms and remove snipers and bombs from roads.
The Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabagh, said security forces were empowered under the deal to search any place where they suspect heavy and medium weapons are hidden.
Iraqi and US troops have been trying to subdue militiamen in Shiite-dominated neighbourhoods of Baghdad since the end of March. At least 6,000 people have fled the fighting and nearly 1,000 people are believed to have been killed, many of them civilians.