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WAR: Al-Sadr Tells Militia to Turn Over Shrine

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posted on Aug, 19 2004 @ 06:11 PM
Muqtada al-Sadr has apparently ordered his troops to withdraw from the sacred Imam Ali shrine rather than allow coalition and Iraqi troops to enter and root them out.
NAJAF, Iraq - Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his fighters Thursday to hand control of a revered Najaf shrine to top Shiite religious authorities, hours after U.S. forces bombed militant positions and Iraq (news - web sites)'s prime minister made a "final call" for the cleric's militia to surrender.

Blasts and gunbattles persisted throughout the day Thursday in the streets of Najaf, where militants bombarded a police station with mortar rounds, killing seven police and injuring 35 others. At night, at least 30 explosions shook the Old City as a U.S. plane hit militant targets east of the Imam Ali shrine.

U.S. forces also battled al-Sadr's supporters in a Baghdad slum, where militants said five fighters and five civilians were killed. Also, late Thursday, an American warplane bombed targets in the Sunni city of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This is good news for the coalition forces. If they had to go in and possibly damage the sacred shrine to root out the rebels, it would have been a PR nightmare. Better to have him out in the open. He has now rejected a peaceful turnover, and wants to be a martyr. It would have been a disaster to allow him and his followers to become a political party.

[edit on 8-19-2004 by Valhall]

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