Militants bombarded Baghdad's Green Zone with rockets on Sunday, taking advantage of the cover of a blinding dust storm to launch one of the heaviest strikes in weeks on the fortified compound. The strikes appeared to defy a renewed call for a ceasefire by Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, which has seen many of his masked gunmen leave the streets of the Sadr City slum.
Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr pulled back from confrontation with the government on Friday, asking his followers to continue to observe a shaky ceasefire and not to battle government troops. Sadr said his recent threat of ''open war'' was directed only at United States forces, not the Iraqi government.
Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday threatened an ''open war'' against the Iraqi government unless it halted a crackdown by Iraqi and United States security forces on his followers. The spectre of a full-scale uprising by Sadr sharply raises the stakes in his confrontation with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
United States and Iraqi forces killed 13 gunmen in clashes and air strikes overnight in the Baghdad stronghold of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who said the US would remain his enemy until the ''last drop of my blood''. Authorities eased a blockade on Saturday in the Sadr City district of eastern Baghdad that had trapped residents in the slum for two weeks.
A female suicide bomber killed 45 people when she blew herself up at a popular pet market in central Baghdad on Friday, police said, in the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital in six months. Another 82 were wounded in the blast at the crowded Ghazil market, one of Baghdad's most popular gathering places, which has been bombed at least three times in the past year.