They came at dawn, thousands of Iraqi troops and US special forces on a mission to reclaim a lawless city from the militias who ran it.
By the end of the day, al-Amarah was under Iraqi Government control - without a shot being fired.
The city had been taken over by the Shia al-Mahdi Army two years ago after British troops handed it to an ill-prepared Iraqi Army. “We can't say al-Amarah was entirely bad, there are good people here, poor people. But the city was controlled by the al-Mahdi Army, and these people are all backed by Iran,” said Captain Hussein Ali of the Scorpion police brigade, one of the Iraqi units drafted in to take part in Operation Omen of Peace.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Operation Omen of Peace: Al-Mahdi Army militias routed without a shot fired
James Hider reporting from al-Amarah