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Al-Sadr Supporters Attacked Near Al-Najaf

26 August 2004 -- Supporters of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr were attacked today as they marched from the town of Al-Kufah to the adjacent city of Al-Najaf where al-Sadr's militia has been fighting U.S. forces for several weeks.

It was not clear who launched the attack. Witnesses said there were casualties.

The incident occurred shortly after a mortar attack on the main mosque in Al-Kufah reportedly killed at least 25 people and wounded some 60 others. The reports said at the time of the attack, the Al-Kufah mosque was crowded with al-Sadr supporters planning to march on Al-Najaf.

An aide of Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Ali al-Sistani says the cleric is proceeding by car from the southern city of Al-Basrah to Al-Najaf despite the Al-Kufah violence. Al-Sistani is expected to arrive later today in Al-Najaf to try to resolve the conflict in the city.