Maliki to extend raids to Diyala province

June 23, 2008 at 5:11 PM

AMARAH, Iraq, June 23 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged Monday to expand military operations targeting Shiite militias to central Diyala province.

Speaking to local sheiks and military officials, Maliki said Iraqi forces would pursue "outlaws" throughout Iraq, Voice of America reported. The announcement follows Iraqi-led military operations targeting al-Qaida fighters in Mosul and Shiite militias in Basra, Sadr City and Amarah, the provincial capital of Maysan.

"This success has been achieved from Basra to Mosul, and next will be Diyala," Press TV quotes the prime minister in Maysan province.

Maliki emphasized Iraqi military forces would continue to operate in accordance with the rule of law in order to bring peace and security to Iraq.

Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr warned Maliki against wanton arrests of his loyalists ahead of the Amarah offensive, though several Sadrist officials were arrested in the raids.

Maliki did not specify a time frame for the Diyala operations. He issued a warning to militias in Maysan province four days prior to the raid.

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