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Sadr offers truce to ease Iraqi crisis
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Powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sunday asked his followers to put weapons aside after days of fierce clashes have pushed the nation to the brink of even larger bloodshed.

Vehicles burn after a US air strike in a parking lot in Baghdad's Sadr City March 28, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

"The Iraqi government welcomes Sadr's decision to stop bloodletting and end armed appearances," government spokesman Alial-Dabbagh said on the state-run TV al-Iraqiya, adding that "this was an expected stance from Sadr."

"After this decision, anyone who carries weapon will not be from the Sadr movement and out of his instructions," he said.

He also said that Sadr's move "would largely promote peacemaking efforts which will bring back security to all the Iraqi cities."

Later, al-Iraqiya said a curfew which has been in place since Thursday will be lifted in Baghdad on Monday. But a traffic ban will remain in three Shiite districts controlled by the Sadrists.

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