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Al-Sadr Followers Attend Prayers At Sunni Mosque


7 May 2004 -- Followers of radical Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr attended prayers in a Sunni mosque in Baghdad today, in a show of solidarity between the two sects.

Thousands of Shi'ites prayed at the Abu Hanifa Mosque in the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiyah in Baghdad. Ahmad Hassan Taha, a Sunni cleric who led prayers there, said the presence of Shi'a worshippers shows that the U.S.-led coalition "tried to sow discord among us, and they have failed."

Coalition forces have been fighting militiamen loyal to al-Sadr in the Shi'a holy cities of Al-Najaf and Karbala, at the same time that coalition troops in Al-Fallujah and elsewhere have been fighting Sunni insurgents.

At the Al-Kufa Mosque outside Al-Najaf, al-Sadr said today during Friday prayers that the United States would be forced out of Iraq sooner or later. Al-Sadr said in his sermon that the United States would never control Iraqis and would be forced to leave eventually.

In fighting outside Karbala today, U.S. forces killed eight members of the Shi'a militia that supports al-Sadr and wounded 14 others.

There was also fighting reported overnight near Al-Najaf between U.S. forces and al-Sadr supporters. Six members of a family were reportedly killed when their home was hit during the battle.

South of Baghdad, unknown assailants shot and killed two journalists, one Polish and one Algerian. A Polish cameraman was wounded.

(AFP/AP/Reuters)
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