March 28, 2008 8:45 PM

Iraqi prime minister softens ultimatum as militias stand ground

Four days into a major government offensive in Basra, Iraqi government forces have been unable to dislodge Shiite Muslim militias from their strongholds in the southern port city, prompting Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to back off his ultimatum to disarm by Friday. Some U.S. officials worry Maliki may have miscalculated the militias' resolve.

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