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George Bush signalled yesterday that he was likely to suspend the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq this summer because of fears that the country might return to the levels of violence witnessed last year.
Speaking as a three-day curfew was imposed on Baghdad and as fighting continued for a third successive day in Basra, the US president said there had been gains in Iraq, with overall levels of violence down, but security was fragile.
BAGHDAD, March 28 (Reuters) - Iraqi lawmakers will hold an
emergency session on Friday in an attempt to end violence in the
oil city of Basra after an army crackdown on Shi'ite militia
sparked fighting across the south and mass protests in Baghdad.
With violence spreading across the Shi'ite south and
affecting the country's vital oil exports, lawmakers called an
emergency session on Friday.
"Today (Thursday) we reviewed the situation in Basra. We
agreed to hold an emergency session tomorrow to discuss the
Basra situation and how to resolve it," parliament speaker
Mahmoud Mashhadani told Reuters.
In a sign of rising instability in the oil-rich south,
saboteurs on Thursday blew up one of Iraq's two main oil export
pipelines from Basra, cutting at least a third of the exports
from the southern oilfields.
The attack, which pushed U.S. oil prices up by more than $1
a barrel, marked the first time since 2004 that the important
southern supply route has been disrupted.