AMARA, Iraq (AFP) - Iraqi forces have completed their deployment in the southern city of Amara ahead of a planned offensive against militia groups in the Shia stronghold, a top commander said on Monday. "The military is fully deployed to ensure total control of the city without leaving any gaps for the militants to flee," said a statement quoting General Nasir al-Abadi, a senior Iraqi commander from the defence ministry. Iraqi forces supported by US troops began amassing on Saturday in the province of Maysan and its capital Amara for a planned crackdown on militiamen, many believed to be linked to hardline Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Iraqi army officials have however declined to give troop numbers. Abadi said the security forces are calling on local tribal leaders to urge them to "support and facilitate the mission." He also called upon militiamen to surrender their weapons as directed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who on Sunday issued a four-day deadline before the operation is due to begin on Thursday. Amara police spokesman Colonel Mahdi al-Asadi said the operation was entirely the responsibility of Iraqi forces with foreign troops only offering back up. He said the crackdown was not targeting any specific militia. "It will target outlaws even if they are government officials. It will not target any militia specifically but those who are criminals," Asadi told AFP. The Sadr group however believes the crackdown is aimed at its Mahdi Army militiamen. Asadi said the troops had already found and defused dozens of road bombs and missiles in the north and west of Amara, adding security forces would set up centres on Monday to collect weapons as ordered by Maliki. British troops transferred security control of Maysan to Iraqi forces in April 2007, but peace in the province, and Amara in particular, has remained fragile, with intense Shia infighting to control the oil rich region. Militiamen from the Mahdi Army virtually seized control of Amara soon after the city was transferred to the Iraqis. US-led forces believe that Amara, located close to the Iranian border, is a route for weapons smuggling into Iraq from its overwhelmingly Shia neighbour. Maliki launched a similar attack against rival Shia militias, mainly the Mahdi Army, in the main southern city and oil hub of Basra in March. It triggered fierce fighting between the militiamen and security forces in Basra and other Shia regions that left hundreds of people dead.