Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Iraqi army agrees truce with Shiite militia after deadly clash

DIWANIYAH, Iraq (AFP) - Iraqi authorities have agreed a truce with a Shiite militia and calm has been restored in the town of Diwaniyah after a battle which left at least 28 people dead, military officials said.

Under the deal brokered by local Iraqi political leaders, the army will pull back reinforcements which came from outside the city, while the Mahdi Army militia will evacuate a district it took control of during the fighting.

"We are now watching the militia withdrawing. They started pulling out early this morning and they're still going," an Iraq army captain told AFP.

Shops began to reopen in Diwaniyah on Tuesday and water and electricity supplies were turned back on, as a tense calm returned to the town that lies 180 kilometres (110 miles) south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

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