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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Troops Stop 5 Sadr Lawmakers

BAGHDAD -- U.S. soldiers on Monday stopped five lawmakers loyal to anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr as they were walking to a parking lot inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, one of the lawmakers said.

A witness said the soldiers drove up in a sport utility vehicle marked "police" and stopped the lawmakers, including two women, just outside the building where they attended a session of the 275-seat parliament.

The soldiers asked the three male lawmakers to hand over the passes giving them access to the Green Zone, home to Iraq's parliament as well as its government offices and the U.S. and British embassies.

The lawmakers obliged, but an argument ensued. The U.S. troops cleared the area as the argument was in progress, but one of the lawmakers later said the dispute lasted about 30 minutes and ended with the soldiers giving back the passes.

"You can call [top U.S. commander in Iraq] General [David] Petraeus on the phone and demand an apology," one lawmaker, Saleh al-Aujaili, quoted a soldier as saying. "I told him that the Sadrist bloc has no wish to speak with the American occupiers," he said.

A U.S. military spokesman said he had no information on the incident.

The parliament is expected this week to debate a draft bill sponsored by the 30 Sadrist lawmakers for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq and a freeze on their existing levels.