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Iraqi Shi'ite Cleric to Decide on Extending or Ending Cease-Fire

Iraq's powerful Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is expected to announce a decision Friday on whether to extend a six-month cease-fire that has played a large part in reducing violence in the country.

Several officials close to Sadr told reporters on condition of anonymity that he is planning to extend the truce between his Mahdi Army militia and U.S. and Iraqi forces. There has been no confirmation from Sadr.

The officials say Sadr has issued a declaration that will be read by loyal clerics during Friday prayers.

U.S. officials say the ceasefire has been an important element in reducing violence in Iraq by 60 percent since June.

In other developments Thursday, Iraqi and Iranian officials agreed to restore border posts ahead of the Iranian president's first state visit to Iraq in early March.

Foreign ministry officials from both countries meeting in Tehran agreed to restore some mechanisms of a 1975 border treaty meant to settle disputes over border territory. No details were given on what part of the treaty would be restored or when.

Also Thursday, Iraqi authorities said they found 15 bodies in northeastern Iraq's Diyala province. Officials said the 15 appear to have been killed a week ago.

In other violence, the U.S. military says a Marine was killed in al Anbar Province Thursday, and a roadside bomb killed a soldier in Baghdad Wednesday.

Elsewhere, the British defense ministry says four British soldiers were wounded late Wednesday in an explosion near their base in the southern city of Basra.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.