President George Bush on Thursday announced a suspension of United States troop withdrawals from Iraq this summer to allow the military to reassess the security situation. The announcement came amid a spike in violence in Iraq in recent weeks.
United States air strikes killed 10 people in the eastern Baghdad militia stronghold of Sadr City, Iraqi police said on Thursday, but street fighting eased after four days of clashes that have killed close to 90 people. The Sadr City slum has since Sunday been the focal point of battles between black-masked Mehdi Army militiamen and security forces.
Iraq on Wednesday marked the fifth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's iron-fisted regime with the nation still in turmoil, the capital under curfew and a surge of deadly violence in the Shi'ite bastion of Sadr City. Iraqi officials said three mortar rounds slammed into Sadr City, killing at least seven people and wounding 24 others.
Hillary Clinton hit out at Democratic White House rival Barack Obama over Iraq on Wednesday, as a report by war commander General David Petraeus ignited new campaign brush fires. The New York senator questioned whether Obama could live up to his pledge to bring United States troops home and lashed out at Republican nominee John McCain.
The top United States commander in Iraq told Congress on Tuesday he plans to stop US troop withdrawals in July due to fragile security gains and heard appeals for quicker action to find a way to end the war. Appearances by General David Petraeus and the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, drew US presidential candidates.