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al-Sadr: Under pressure? (file photo)
21 September 2004 -- U.S. Marines today arrested two close aides of Shi'a cleric and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr in the Iraqi city of Al-Najaf.
An official in al-Sadr's office, Abu Sadeq al-Adhari, said Sheikh Ahmad al-Shaibani and Said Hosam al-Musawi were seized this morning along with several other workers.
The raid came as new threats were leveled against several Westerners held hostage in Iraq. A militant group is threatening to kill an American and a Briton if the United States does not release Iraqi women prisoners today.
The same group beheaded an American hostage after their original deadline passed for the release of Iraqi women at the Abu Ghurayb and Umm Qasr prisons.
The U.S. military says no women are being held in the two prisons.
In the latest violence today, an Iraqi civilian was killed in an explosion set off when a police vehicle hit a land mine in Ba'quba.