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U.S. Urges Iraqi Civilians To Flee Combat Zone


10 August 2004 -- U.S. troops have called on Iraqi civilians to evacuate the areas where they are fighting the militia loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the Iraqi holy city of Al-Najaf.

U.S. soldiers urged today the population through loudspeakers to quit the combat zone: "Leave peacefully. There is no truce with the armed elements. We call for all people to cooperate with police and the Iraqi army and evacuate the areas...."

Fighting between U.S. and Iraqi forces and fighters loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are continuing for the sixth consecutive day in Al-Najaf.

Witnesses said clashes also erupted today in Baghdad's Al-Sadr City, a scene of fierce fighting since 5 August. U.S. tanks and Iraqi national guardsmen reportedly were advancing near the area.

In southern Iraq, however, a British military spokesman said the streets are calm after fighting with members of al-Sadr's militia killed one British soldier yesterday.

(Reuters/AFP)
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