Iraqi PM hands Sadr victory over US blockade
Iraqi Shiite militants have won a major political victory when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered US and Iraqi units to lift a blockade around the flashpoint Baghdad suburb of Sadr City.
American commanders believe Shiite gunmen may be holding a kidnapped US soldier in the east Baghdad slum and since last week their troops have been maintaining a cordon of checkpoints and roadblocks around the area.
Iraqi and US forces have also launched raids inside the district, most recently on Tuesday morning, when they arrested three suspects.
But US forces began lifting the blockade shortly before Maliki's 5.00 pm deadline, triggering a triumphant response from local youths who waved banners from racing trucks and mopeds in an impromptu victory rally.
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