Baghdad (AP) Iraq's prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki has declared a nationwide freeze on raids against suspected Shiite militiamen.
The announcement comes a day after Shiite leader Muqtada Al-Sadr hinted at retaliation if the arrests of his followers did not stop. Al-Sadr's Mahdi army militia fought government troops in Basra and Baghdad last week after being targeted in a government offensive.
Al-Maliki's statement today does not mention the Mahdi army by name or give a timeframe for the freeze. It says only that the move is designed to give a “chance to those who repented and want to lay down their arms.”
Meantime, Iraqi police say at least 15 people have been killed and eight wounded in a suicide bomb attack north of Baghdad. The bomber blew himself up in the middle of a crowd of mourners attending the funeral of a Sunni police officer.