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U.S. General Says Al-Sadr Is 'Militarily Defeated'

U.S.: Al-Sadr losing the fight 5 June 2004 -- A U.S. military commander says that the armed militia of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has been militarily defeated.

Brigadier General Mark Hertling, a high U.S. commander in charge of Al-Najaf, said that al-Sadr's militia has lost much of its will to fight. He also declared victory in the central cities of Kut, Al-Diwaniyah, and Karbala, where fighting has flared over the past two months.

Hertling said that U.S.-led forces have destroyed the fighters' weapons stores and their offensive capability.

Hertling praised Al-Najaf Governor Adnan al-Zorfi, appointed last month, for playing a political role in the defeat. He said that U.S. patrols and checkpoints remain active around Al-Najaf and nearby Al-Kufah.