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Al-Sadr militiamen (archive photo)
8 May 2004 -- Bands of Shi'a militiamen loyal to radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have attacked British Army patrols in the southern city of Al-Basrah, sparking skirmishes in some neighborhoods.
A British Army spokesman told Reuters that the extent of the unrest is unclear but that British troops are conducting talks with local leaders in attempts to ease tensions.
The unrest in Al-Basrah comes after the radical Shi'a cleric rallied his supporters yesterday with a defiant sermon in the south-central city of Kufa. He demanded that U.S. President George W. Bush face trial over the widening prison-abuse scandal.
The British Army says that clashes also took place in the southeastern city of Amara. The spokesman said two soldiers were wounded in the fighting.