BAGHDAD - Rebel Shiite cleric Moktada Sadr has returned to Iraq.
The Washington Post reported that Sadr, who went into hiding before the U.S.-Iraqi security plan in Baghdad was launched in February, delivered a sermon Friday before thousands of people in the southern city of Kufa.
U.S. officials have said that Sadr, who has a strong Shiite following in Iraq, has been in Iran. The newspaper said that Sadr has been trying to show he can be a national leader.
Aides to Sadr disputed U.S. claims that he has been in Iran, saying he has been in Iraq all the time.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, second in command of the U.S. forces in Iraq, told the Post he believed Sadr returned to Iraq to exert control over his organization, the Mahdi Army.
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