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Al-Sadr's forces have left shrine

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posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:15 AM
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NAJAF, Iraq - Militiamen loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have left the holy shrine in Najaf and Iraqi police are in control there, Iraq's Interior Ministry said Friday. Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim said police had entered the shrine and arrested 400 armed militants without incident. However, reporters who were inside the shrine throughout the afternoon said not a single police officer entered the compound and no arrests were made.


www.msnbc.msn.com...

Wow thats a pretty big mistake. Either 400 armed militants were arrested or not. Would be nice to actually know what is really happening in Iraq for once.




posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 10:17 AM
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I know I will like to know too, but this democracy in accordance to this administration and his poppet government in Iraq.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:13 AM
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What I can not understand is what is to be gained from lying about the current Najaf situation.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:18 AM
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Actually right now nobody knows what is going on, it looks like the militia is still in the shrine, and the Iraqi goverment is liying aobut it.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:19 AM
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I'd be curious to see what Al-Jazeera says.... (I can't visit the site while at work, as I have no idea what kinds of bells and whistles that will set off, hehe...)



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:34 AM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
I'd be curious to see what Al-Jazeera says.... (I can't visit the site while at work, as I have no idea what kinds of bells and whistles that will set off, hehe...)


Probably the same bells and whistles that visiting a site called "Above top secret" sets off...

URL: english.aljazeera.net...

Article:

Conflicting reports over Imam Ali mosque

Friday 20 August 2004, 18:36 Makka Time, 15:36 GMT


Conflicting reports have emerged from Najaf concerning control of the Imam Ali mosque after a Muqtada al-Sadr spokesperson denied the presence of any Iraqi police within the grounds of the holy shrine.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry said on Friday that police had entered the revered site and taken about 400 al-Mahdi Army militiamen into custody after al-Sadr's aides symbolically handed control of the site to Iraq's senior Shia religious authorities



"The Iraqi police are now in control of the shrine, along with the religious authorities," said senior Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim.



There was no immediate word on whether the militiamen would receive an amnesty or remain in detention. The whereabouts of al-Sadr also remain uncertain.



Iraqi report denied



But in an interview with Aljazeera, an al-Sadr aide, Ahmad al-Shaibani, denied police had entered the site and said Kadhim's statement was "laughable".



"There were no al-Mahdi Army men in the holy shrine as of this morning - they are all in the old sector of the city and there is intense fighting with US troops there," al-Shaibani told Aljazeera.



Meanwhile, a top US military officer in Iraq said he could not confirm the country's police had taken control of the mosque in Najaf on Friday, and added the whereabouts of al-Sadr were unknown.



"Right now, we cannot confirm that," Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic told Reuters when asked about Iraqi government statements that police had seized the Imam Ali Mosque and arrested hundreds of al-Sadr's Shia fighters.



A US defence official went further and denied Iraqi government claims that Iraqi police had entered the holy shrine.



"Not a lick of truth to it," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We are still outside of the shrine, and so are the Iraqi police."



Handover



Al-Shaibani told Aljazeera hours earlier that control of the religious site had been given to representatives of the country's most senior Shia figure.



"The keys of the Imam Ali shrine have been handed over to representatives of the Shia highest religious authority, Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani"

Ahmad al-Shaibani
"The keys of the Imam Ali shrine have been handed over to representatives of the Shia highest religious authority, Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani," said al-Shaibani.

"This step means the administration of the Imam Ali mausoleum has been submitted to the religious authority in the city," he added.

The handover comes after two days of dire warnings by the Iraqi interim government that al-Sadr's militia should withdraw from Najaf and disband, or face a decisive military assault.

Fighting in the area has been fierce. At least 77 Iraqis have been killed and 70 wounded in fighting in Najaf over the past 24 hours, Iraq's Health Ministry said on Friday. Six of those killed in Najaf were police killed in a mortar attack.

Najaf awoke to an uneasy calm on Friday - punctuated by occasional gunfire - hours after an overnight US bombing raid shook the historic area of the city.

On Thursday, the Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi issued a "final call" to al-Sadr and his fighters to leave the shrine - though he did not mention a deadline.

Allawi has issued a 'final call' for al-Mahdi Army fighters to pull out. But the US-backed premier has faced a dilemma in trying to oust the al-Mahdi Army militia from their entrenched position within the Imam Ali mosque complex.

The site is widely revered by Muslims, especially Shia believers. An assault - particularly one involving US forces - risked igniting a dangerous backlash.

US officials have said their troops were unlikely take part in an attack on the mosque site - although US marines, tanks and aircraft have been clearly active around the area.

Television broadcasts on Friday showed two of the mosque's minarets were marked by shrapnel, while a clock in one of the towers had been damaged.

Despite the handover of the Imam Ali mosque, al-Sadr's aides suggested the al-Mahdi Army remained an active force, though the Shia leader's movement wants to conclude a peace deal with the government.

Al-Shaibani told Aljazeera al-Sadr's movement "has not closed the door towards negotiations with the Iraqi government to end fighting in Najaf but it is not ready to surrender."

Asked earlier whether fighters of the al-Mahdi Army would leave the shrine if a deal were struck, al-Shaibani said: "Any fighter who wants to enter it will have to leave his weapon outside."

The Shia militiamen had been running the Imam Ali shrine since an earlier uprising in April.

Earlier on Friday, our correspondent reported that an intense artillery barrage hit the cemetery, the old sectors of the city and buildings around the Imam Ali mosque in the early hours.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by Gazrok
I'd be curious to see what Al-Jazeera says.... (I can't visit the site while at work, as I have no idea what kinds of bells and whistles that will set off, hehe...)


I see what you mean Gazrok,
The Al-Jazeera home-page auto (tries) to d/l, BreakingNews.aspx. BEWARE.
Here's a cut/paste of one para',




Iraqi report denied

But in an interview with Aljazeera, an al-Sadr aide, Ahmad al-Shaibani, denied police had entered the site and said Kadhim's statement was "laughable".

"There were no al-Mahdi Army men in the holy shrine as of this morning - they are all in the old sector of the city and there is intense fighting with US troops there," al-Shaibani told Aljazeera.

Meanwhile,a top US military officer in Iraq said he could not confirm the country's police had taken control of the mosque in Najaf on Friday, and added the whereabouts ofal-Sadr were unknown.

"Right now, we cannot confirm that," Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic told Reuters when asked about Iraqi government statements that police had seized the Imam Ali Mosque and arrested hundreds of al-Sadr's Shia fighters.

A US defence officialwent further anddenied Iraqi government claims that Iraqi police had entered theholy shrine.
"Not a lick of truth to it," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We are still outside of the shrine, and so are the Iraqi police."


Sanc'.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:38 AM
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LOL, sorry titian
I must of been typing at the same time
Sanc'.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:39 AM
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FoxNews just spoke to a Washinton post reporter in the mosque who has called BS to all reports they have left. The militia is still in the mosque and in full control armed as well.

Guess it is harder to convince people of such a BS story in Iraq. In the US all they would have to do is make a comercial of people who never went near the mosque but claim to have first hand knowledge and wrote a book to convince people of their views.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 11:58 AM
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(I can't visit the site while at work, as I have no idea what kinds of bells and whistles that will set off, hehe...)


Gazrok, this is interesting
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Sanc'.



posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 12:30 PM
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nativeokie,

I got the same news too, but by CNN, so somebody is lying about what is going on in that city but without Al-jazzera's news is dificult to figure out all this mess now.


sanctum,

The link is not Accessible was going on


[edit on 20-8-2004 by marg6043]




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