Update: Shiite Anger Mounts in Iraq Amid Clashes

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Baghdad (AP) Tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiites have taken to the streets of Baghdad to protest the government's crackdown on Shiite militias, primarily in the southern oil city of Basra.

The protest comes on a third-day of fierce clashes between Iraqi security forces and gunmen in Basra and Baghdad.

Protesters are directing their anger at Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Al-Maliki is personally overseeing operations against Shiite militias dominated by followers of Radical Cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr. The U.S. contends the offensive is targeting only rogue fighters.

Iraqi officials report more than 17 people were killed in overnight clashes in Baghdad's Sadr City district.

Suspected Shiite extremists have also fired on Baghdad's heavily guarded green zone for a fourth day.

The violence comes a day after Al-Maliki warned gunmen in Basra to surrender their weapons by tomorrow or face harsh consequences.

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