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Plan seeks to end fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City

Car bomb kills Iraqi national guard members


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Samarra recovers from operation against insurgents.

L. Paul Bremer criticizes U.S. troop levels in Iraq.

CNN's Brent Sadler on deadly blasts and clashes in Baghdad.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq's interim government Wednesday accepted a plan from the forces of Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to end violence in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said.

Under the plan, al-Sadr forces would surrender weapons, an armed militia presence would end, police would return to the streets, and some people would receive amnesty, Allawi said.

The interim Iraqi leader described the effort as an initiative, not a signed agreement.

"The Iraqi government accepts this attitude. We met with them, and we welcome their initiative," said Allawi, who added that he hopes a committee will convene to arrange a timetable and start collecting arms.

Fighting between U.S. and Iraqi forces and al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia has plagued Sadr City.

The agreement comes as insurgent attacks continue against Iraqi security targets.

In the latest, a suicide car bomb attack near the Iraq-Syria border killed 12 Iraqi national guard members and wounded 25 others Wednesday, Iraqi authorities said.

The lethal blast occurred at a national guard camp in Anah, 160 miles (258 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad.

The interim government is using diplomacy and force to try to eliminate the insurgency, which has targeted the country's security forces in its attacks.

The plan to stabilize Sadr City coincides with U.S. and Iraqi military offensives to wipe out the insurgency ahead of January's scheduled elections for a transitional national assembly.

On Wednesday, Maj. Gen. John Batiste, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, described the military operation to defeat the insurgency in Samarra as "very successful" and said the city north of Baghdad is returning to normalcy.

Samarra's Golden Mosque broadcast Wednesday that the city is safe and people should return to normal life, Batiste said.

U.S. and Iraqi forces have killed 127 insurgents and captured 128 suspected enemy fighters, he said. The fighting also killed 20 civilians and wounded more than 60, he said.

Batiste said insurgents used human shields in their fight.

Other developments

  • A top U.S. arms inspector reported Wednesday that he found no evidence that Iraq produced any weapons of mass destruction after 1991. (Full story)
  • A House subcommittee plans to send a subpoena Wednesday to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, seeking documentation of the money flow through the Development Fund for Iraq, managed by the postwar Coalition Provisional Authority led by Bush appointee L. Paul Bremer. (Full story)
  • A day after suggesting that the United States didn't initially send enough troops to Iraq to stem lawlessness, the former top U.S. administrator in Iraq softened his assessment, saying he only recognized the problem with the benefit of hindsight and insisted there are enough soldiers on the ground now. (Full story)
  • A Kurdish tribal leader, his driver and a guard died in a drive-by shooting Wednesday in the northern city of Mosul, said Maj. Gen. Salim Al-Haj Issa, a Nineveh provincial security official. Khalid al-Dibardan was the chief of a prominent Kurdish tribe and was retired from a top position in the Kurdish Democratic Party.
  • U.S. forces hit a suspected safe house of leaders from Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network early Wednesday in Falluja, a stronghold for insurgents west of Baghdad. There were no reports of casualties.
  • British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met with U.N. and Iraqi election officials Wednesday in Iraq. Straw said officials are moving ahead to stage national elections in the violence-wracked country despite security obstacles.
  • A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi police vehicle killed a civilian and wounded six others, including four police officers, in the southern city of Basra, according to an Iraqi police official.
  • U.S.-led forces have started a push against insurgents in another Iraqi hot spot, the northern part of Babil province. The U.S. military said more than 3,000 multinational and Iraqi forces began a major operation Tuesday against insurgents in the central Iraqi province. (Full story)
  • CNN's David Ensor, Ingrid Formanek, Brent Sadler, Ayman Mohyeldin, Bassem Muhy, Kianne Sadeq and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.


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