Al-Sadr demands troops fired get jobs back

April 14, 2008 8:49:54 AM PDT
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is demanding the Iraqi government reinstate all security forces fired for deserting during fighting in Basra. Monday's statement comes a day after more than 1,300 soldiers and policemen were sacked for abandoning their posts or refusing to fight when clashes broke out.

The anti-U.S. cleric says those who gave up their arms "were only obeying their grand religious leaders" and "were driven by their religious duties."

He says in a statement issued by his office in holy city of Najaf that they should be reinstated and even rewarded for their loyalty.