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THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ: SOFTWARE PIRATE IN EXILE; SHAKY
START TO CEASE-FIRE

A shaky truce takes hold in Sadr City

Eleven people are killed and 19 hurt amid clashes in the Baghdad district, but a cleric says the deal will stick.

May 14, 2008|From the Associated Press

BAGHDAD — A shaky cease-fire appeared to take hold Tuesday in this capital's Sadr City neighborhood, after a cleric who brokered the deal for Shiite Muslim fighters said they would honor it even after clashes left at least 11 dead and 19 wounded.

The pact was intended to stop seven weeks of fighting between U.S.-supported Iraqi troops and Shiite militants who have fired more than 1,000 mortar shells and rockets into the Green Zone, home to the government and Western embassies.

But the cease-fire did not start well, with clashes late Monday and early Tuesday.

Iraqi medics reported 11 people killed and 19 injured. Women and children were among the wounded, said hospital officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The U.S. military said Tuesday that it could confirm the deaths of six militants.

In the northern city of Mosul, a roadside bomb killed five Iraqi soldiers Tuesday, police said, also speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

A U.S. soldier was killed just before dark Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded next to his vehicle in northwest Baghdad, the military said. At least 4,077 U.S. military personnel have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to the independent website icasualties.org.

Army Lt. Col. Steven Stover, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, said Tuesday that the Sadr City fighting was caused by "special groups," Shiite factions that have broken with cleric Muqtada Sadr. Many are said by the U.S. military to have been trained and armed by Iranian forces. Iran denies the allegations.

Nevertheless, pro-Sadr clerics negotiated the new cease-fire, and one said Tuesday that it was taking hold and would be enforced.

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