BBC: (no commentary)Wednesday, 26 March 2008, 03:40 GMT
Unrest spreads around Shia Iraq
Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki is in Basra supervising the operation
Fighting between Iraqi security forces and Shia militants has spread from Basra to other Shia parts of the country including Baghdad's Sadr City.
At least 30 people have been killed since Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki vowed on a visit to the southern oil city to "re-impose law".
Unrest in Basra has been stoked by a variety of militias and criminal gangs.
But the government's unspoken intent is to stop it falling under the sway of the Mehdi Army, a BBC analyst says.
Its leader, the radical young cleric Moqtada Sadr, has called on his followers to start a campaign of civil disobedience across the country.
Three Iraqi army brigades have been sent from Baghdad to Basra and up to 15,000 troops
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