US forces in Iraqmeekly comply with the orders of the Iraqi Prime Minister.
U.S. troops on Tuesday abandoned checkpoints around the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City on orders from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the latest in a series of moves by the Iraqi leader to assert his authority with the U.S. administration.
U.S. forces disappeared from the checkpoints within hours of the order to remove the around-the-clock barriers by 5 p.m., setting off celebrations among civilians and armed men gathered on the edge of the sprawling slum that is under the control of the Mahdi Army militia run by radical anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Iraqi troops loaded coils of barbed wire and red traffic cones onto pickup trucks, while small groups of men and children danced in circles chanting slogans praising al-Sadr, who earlier Tuesday had ordered the area closed to the Iraqi government until U.S. troops lifted what he called their “siege” of the neighborhood.
Extra checkpoints were set up last week as U.S. troops launched an intensive search for a missing soldier, who has yet to be found.
Shortly after leaving Sadr city, U.S. troops dismantled other checkpoints in the downtown Karradah neighborhood where the soldier had been abducted, loading barbed wire coils onto their Stryker armored vehicles.