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Iraqi Cleric Claims U.S. Raid Violated Peace Accord

Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani (file photo) 22 September 2004 -- The office of Iraqi Shi'a leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said today that a recent U.S.-led raid on Shi'a cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's office in Al-Najaf and the arrest of his aides violates a recent truce agreement.

Iraqi Minister of State Qassim Dawud announced today that the raid also uncovered many weapons.

"Special Iraqi forces attacked a target in Al-Najaf [yesterday] managed by [Muqtada] al-Sadr's headquarters. We discovered a huge amount of weapons, explosives, [and] rockets. All these were collected and 41 persons were [taken] into custody for more investigations," Dawud said.

Al-Sistani's office says the raid, which was conducted yesterday, went "against the spirit" of a peace agreement that ended fighting in Al-Najaf in late August.