RealNews

Iraq's Shiites Renew Call For Militias

Armed Men on Guard Day After Shrine Attacks. Rifle-toting Shiite Muslim militiamen, some in crisp uniforms and others in civilian attire, deployed in force Wednesday around a bomb-scarred shrine in Baghdad, setting up dozens of checkpoints on bustling streets devoid of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police officers. The militiamen, loyal to various Shiite political parties, joined a contingent of armed guards from the Imam Kadhim mausoleum in asserting control over the neighborhood surrounding the gold-domed shrine, which was attacked by three suicide bombers on Tuesday morning as tens of thousands of Shiites gathered to commemorate a religious holiday. The attack on the mausoleum and simultaneous blasts in the holy city of Karbala have intensified Shiite demands to retain militias affiliated with political parties and other unofficial armies. Shiite leaders insist their own security forces, not the Iraqi police or American troops, are their best defense against terrorist attacks. The death toll from the attacks was set at 117 by the U.S. military, but the president of the Iraqi Governing Council said 271 people had died. Full Story

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