Ed Morrissey notes an AP article that reports that the Iraqi army is preparing for an offensive in Sadr City:
Iraqi soldiers for the first time warned residents in the embattled Sadr City district to leave their houses Thursday, signaling a new push by the U.S.-backed forces against Shiite extremist who have been waging street battles for seven weeks. Iraqi soldiers, using loudspeakers, told residents in some virtually abandoned areas of southeastern Sadr City to go to nearby soccer stadiums, residents said.
This would make a lot of sense, as finishing the cleanup of Sadr City is the obvious next step in Maliki’s crackdown on the militias. However, the AP article has since been changed to withdraw that reporting:
Some residents of Sadr City claimed Thursday that Iraqi soldiers warned them to leave their houses and go to nearby soccer stadiums for security reasons. The U.S. military denied the claim and called it as a “rumor.”
So what’s happening? We’ll have to wait and see.
UPDATE: Based on an NPR report (no link, sorry), this is for real. It sounds like the rumor part was the stadium refuge.