Special report: Tension escalates in Iraq
BAGHDAD, March 28 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mahmoudal-Mashhadani on Friday called for an extraordinary session to discuss the ongoing clashes between the government troops and Shiite militiamen.
"We appeal to all lawmakers to convene an extraordinary session at 3:00 p.m.(1200 GMT) Friday to debate the current incidents in Basra and other provinces," Mashhadani was quoted by the Voice of Iraq News Agency as saying at a press conference at his house." If the quorum was not observed, a committee would be set up under the chairmanship of the parliament speaker," he added. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and some other parties representatives attended the press conference. Jaafari said the representatives of the political blocs have discussed "several points I believe are integrated as a project that could help end this schism."
The proposal came as the government security troops and Shiite militants clashed in southern areas and Baghdad this week. On Friday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered the militants in Basra to surrender by April 8, setting a new deadline for Shiite fighters to lay down their weapons." All those who have heavy and medium arms, they should surrender them to the security forces and receive money starting from March 28 until April 8," Maliki said in a statement issued byhis office in Baghdad.
At least 60 people have been killed and 295 others injured in the second largest city of Iraq since the clashes broke out Monday night.
In Baghdad, a curfew from Thursday night to Sunday morning has been imposed.