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Up to 30 people killed in Iraq's Basra clashes
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Basra, some 550 km south of Baghdad, has been the scene of a fierce clashes between the Iraqi security forces and Mahdi Army militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, which have a strong presence in the Iraqi second largest city.

Heavy fighting broke out between Iraqi security forces and the Mahdi Army Shiite militia earlier on Tuesday.

Iraqi security forces launched a massive security operation against rival Shiite factions and gangs who brought disorder and instability in the city.

A three-day curfew was imposed on the city starting from Tuesday, in addition to the closure of the Iraqi-Iranian border.

The operation came a day after the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki paid a visit to Basra to restore order in the city where instability was spreading.

Iraqi troops take up positions in Basra in this television grab March 25, 2008.

Iraqi troops take up positions in Basra in this television grab March 25, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

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