http://gdb.rferl.org/d2d14c18-bd3e-45dd-8d87-fe86477db5ec_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/d2d14c18-bd3e-45dd-8d87-fe86477db5ec_mw800_mh600.jpg
September 1, 2007 -- The U.S. military today welcomed a declaration by Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that he will freeze the activities of his militia for up to six months.
In a statement, the military said al-Sadr's decision could reduce criminal activity and help reunite Iraqis separated by ethnic and sectarian violence.
The statement also said that if implemented, al-Sadr's order could allow coalition and Iraqi forces to intensify their efforts against Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Al-Sadr this week ordered his Al-Mahdi Army to suspend armed action after scores of people were killed during gunbattles involving the militia at a Shi'ite pilgrimage in the holy city of Karbala.