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May 26, 2008
Iraq Violence at 4-year Low
According to the US military, attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi civilians dropped to just 300 last week compared to 1600 a week last June. This represents the lowest number of attacks in that country in 4 years:
The announcement appeared aimed at allaying fears that an uprising by militiamen loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr could unravel security gains since 28,500 additional American troops were deployed in Iraq in a buildup that reached its height in June.Much of the credit for these reduced numbers should be going to the Iraqi Army who has gone into Basra and Sadr City to root out elements of the Mahdi Army.
Navy Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, a military spokesman, credited the decrease to a series of operations launched by the Iraqi government in the last two months to extend control over parts of the country that have been under the sway of armed Sunni Arab and Shiite militants. They include crackdowns in the southern oil hub of Basra, the northern city of Mosul and Baghdad's Sadr City district.
The late March operation in Basra triggered a fierce backlash by Sadr's militiamen in Sadr City and across the overwhelmingly Shiite south, drawing in British and American forces.
The number of attacks nationwide rose to about 850 in the week that the Basra crackdown began, according to the military's chart. The figure has ebbed and flowed since then.
There is also an offensive going on in Mosul against al-Qaeda that so far has netted more than 1,000 prisoners although it appears many fighters got away before the door was closed. Violence in Mosul has also diminished.