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Muqtada al-Sadr dissolved militia after killings

INFLUENTIAL Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr dissolved his Blue Hats militia this week after it was accused of killing anti-government protesters in Najaf.

The Islamist leader said: “I announce the dissolution of the Blue Hats and I do not accept the [Sadrist] movement’s presence in and of itself at the protests, unless it is absorbed into them.”

Investigations are underway into the killings of at least eight people in the holy city of Najaf last week as their tents were torched.

Protesters have faced attack from security services and armed militia belonging to various political and religious faction since an uprising began in October.

More than 600 people have since been killed, with targeted assassinations and kidnappings increasing in recent months.

Mr Sadr initially supported the anti-government protests, but has called on his supporters to withdraw and give their backing to newly appointed Prime Minister Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi.

Mr Sadr also called on the Iraqi security forces to expel “saboteurs” from the protests and protect peaceful demonstrators.

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