By Spring 2008 the situation on the ground was at a stalemate. In the words of an al-Sadr official both sides were waging a war of attrition against each other with the Coalition troops not being able to push deeper into Sadr City and the Mahdi Army not being able to expel the troops from the district.
By May 21, 2008, Iraqi Army Units had secured or captured all of Sadr City, receiving little resistance as the 10,000 man force backed by tanks rolled past barricades and into the center of the city. However, Mahdi Army fighters remained in Sadr City, blended in the civilian population, with their weapons.
During the four-year siege, several thousand Iraqi civilians were killed in street clashes, by roadside bombs, snipers and suicide bombers, in military raids and in constant U.S. military air strikes. Some also died due to the lack of food, water and a rising threat from the lack of sanitation services. Over 1,000 Mahdi Army fighters were killed along with at least 500 members of the Iraqi security forces and less than 300 U.S. soldiers.
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