Sadr 'to extend ceasefire' in Iraq: Sources

Powerful Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is expected to extend a six-month ceasefire by his Mehdi Army, two senior officials in his movement confirmed for the first time on Thursday.

Sadr 'to extend ceasefire' in Iraq: Sources
They said Sadr had issued a declaration to preachers to be read during midday prayers on Friday at mosques affiliated with the cleric.

"The general idea is that there will be an extension," said one senior official in Sadr's movement in Baghdad who declined to be identified or go into detail on the declaration.

"Sayed (Sadr) has distributed sealed envelopes to the imams of the mosques to be read tomorrow. They cannot be opened before tomorrow."

Another senior official in Sadr's movement, speaking from the holy Shi'ite city of Najaf where Sadr has offices, said the cleric would likely extend the truce for another six months.

Sadr's spokesman, Salah al-Ubaidi, has previously said the cleric would issue a statement around Feb. 23 if he was renewing the truce, while silence would mean it was over.

Distribution of Sadr's statement to religious leaders seems to indicate the anti-American cleric will renew the truce.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Şubat 2008, 11:08