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U.S. Forces Battle Insurgents Deep Into Iraqi Holy City


http://gdb.rferl.org/6EC2E997-0C55-411C-8304-6FEA1681296A_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/6EC2E997-0C55-411C-8304-6FEA1681296A_mw800_mh600.jpg (file photo) 14 May 2004 -- U.S. forces have intensified fighting in Al-Najaf against forces loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

14 May 2004 -- U.S. forces intensified fighting in Najaf against forces loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr today.
Reports say that U.S. tanks have entered Najaf's vast cemetery to root out fighters.
Fighting also erupted around the main police station, less than a mile from one of the holiest Shi'a shrines, the Imam Ali mosque, in the center of the town.
A spokesman for al-Sadr, Sheik Ahmed Shibani, said ten of al-Sadr's fighters died in the fighting.
Al-Sadr himself managed to move out of Najaf and preach his usual Friday sermon in Kufa, on the outskirts of the town.
Today's clashes, which broke out early in the morning and lasted for six hours, were among the most intense in Najaf since the standoff began more than a month ago.
Meanwhile, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has called on U.S. forces and al-Sadr's militia to stop fighting and leave the holy city.
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