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Mediator Says Iraqi Cleric's Fighters Agree To Disarm

9 October 2004 -- A mediator involved in brokering a deal between Shi'a rebels in Baghdad and the U.S. military said today that the insurgents have agreed to trade some of their arms for cash.

The mediator, Karim al-Bakhit, said the fighters, who are loyal to rebel Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, will hand over their heavy and medium-sized weapons for cash starting on 11 October.

There has been no confirmation from the U.S. military about the deal.

Ali Smeisem, a senior al-Sadr aide, claimed the handover will take place at three police stations in Baghdad's Al-Sadr City neighborhood and will last five days.

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has previously denied his government was negotiating with the insurgents but said they could take up an amnesty offer if they surrender weapons.

Also today, the U.S. military announced U.S. and Iraqi forces have foiled a car bomb attack in Mosul and detained 31 suspected insurgent in and near the northern city.