A U.K. government official says Britain negotiated a cease-fire with Iraqi militants in Basra three months before British troops pulled out of the city.

Jon Day told the Iraq Inquiry on Wednesday that British officials held talks with the leaders of the Mahdi Army militia in Basra from spring 2007. British troops withdrew from central Basra in September that year.

The Mahdi Army — a Shia militia loyal to the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — was heavily involved in the insurgency that erupted after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

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