A top level American general urged Muqtada al-Sadr to rein in his armed forces after a US soldier was killed during a gun battle with miilitants who support the radical cleric. Despite al-Sadr’s rhetoric about initiating extensive action in response to attacks by Prime Minister Maliki’s troops, the American military has avoided directly criticizing al-Sadr, and blame fighting with his militant supporters on a break away group. “We do not attribute what we’ve seen to JAM,” said General Llod Austin III, using the Iraqi acronym for al-Sadr’s Mahdi army. However, he urged that “Sadr will choose the road of peace and responsibility.” The killing of the soldier raised the level of dead Americans to 34 so far in April which represents the highest mark since September when 65 were killed.
During recent days suicide bombers blew up a cart loaded with explosives near an Iraqi police station and a half hour later a parked car bomb blast went off near a police patrol. Last weekend, the terror network boasted it was initiating a new offensive against the Americans and their Iraqi allies. On Tuesday, a woman suicide bomber killed 18 people in Diyala province.