Muqtada al-Sadr (file photo) (AFP)
August 29, 2007 -- Iraqi radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr today announced that his Al-Mahdi Army militia is suspending all activities for six months.
Al-Sadr said in a statement issued by his office in the city of Najaf that all activities are suspended while the army is being restructured.
In the statement, al-Sadr called on all Al-Mahdi Army offices to cooperate with security forces and exercise "self-control."
Al-Sadr organized the Al-Mahdi Army shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. Since then it has become a powerful and active armed Shi'ite group, taking part in two uprisings against U.S.-led forces in 2004.
(AFP, AP, BBC)
Al-Sadr supporters demonstrating against the U.S. presence in Iraq in October 2006 (epa)
A RADICAL CLERIC. Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is a key figure in Iraq. He heads the Imam Al-Mahdi Army militia and a political bloc that is prominent in parliament and the government. His ties to Iran have also provoked concerns in some quarters.