BAGHDAD — Iraqi security forces will expand their operations into east Baghdad, including Shiite militia strongholds, the Defense Ministry said Friday.
Ministry spokesman Mohammed Askari said forces planned to move into the area as part of a joint U.S.-Iraqi crackdown, targeting the capital's most violent districts in phases. The crackdown has resulted in an additional 12,000 troops being deployed in the capital.
The Sadr City neighborhood, a stronghold of firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, will be included, Askari said. The district has seen repeated clashes between U.S. troops and Sadr's Al Mahdi militia. American forces recently have rarely gone into the district.
Other areas include Jadida, Habibiya, Waziriya and Palestine Street, which has experienced a surge in violence. The expansion will begin within 10 days, Askari said.