17 August 2004 -- Eight members of Iraq's National Conference arrived today in Al-Najaf in a bid to end a violent uprising in the city led by radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
The delegation will urge al-Sadr's followers to lay down their arms, leave a holy site where they are holed up, and join the political process.
Al-Sadr's militia has been engaged in daily clashes with U.S. troops for nearly two weeks. There were reports of fighting today near the Imam Ali shrine.
Earlier today, a much larger delegation had to delay and eventually cancel its trip to Al-Najaf due to security concerns.
The National Conference currently meeting in Baghdad is to choose a national council to oversee Iraq's interim government until elections expected in January.
(Reuters/AP/AFP)For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".