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Reports of Iraq police taking control of Najaf shrine

Let's see what happens.


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Re: control of Najaf shrine -- reports disputed
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Apparently handing over a shrine is a complicated business!

In reply to: Reports of Iraq police taking control of Najaf shrine

Militia, Shiite Leaders Bicker Over Shrine

Al-Sadr aides said they tried to hand the keys over to representatives of Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, who refused to accept them, demanding the shrine be evacuated first.

Sheik Ali Smeisim, a senior al-Sadr aide, said the militants wanted a delegation from al-Sistani's office to first inspect the shrine and make sure its treasures were intact, so that al-Sadr's followers would not be accused of stealing or damaging anything. Only then will the militants leave, he said.

Al-Sistani's aides say they will not send a delegation because of the security situation in the city.


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Update 8/22/04

In reply to: Reports of Iraq police taking control of Najaf shrine

Militants hold Najaf shrine; bombing heard

An unofficial mediator pleaded with al-Sadr to disarm his militants, pull them out of the shrine and disband his militia immediately. "We are in a race with time," said Hussein al-Sadr, a distant relative of the cleric.

Early Sunday, U.S. warplanes bombed Najaf's Old City, the scene of much of the fighting, and the sounds of shelling could be heard in the streets, witnesses said. The U.S. military could not confirm the bombing, but said operations in Najaf were ongoing.


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A few minutes ago?

In reply to: Reports of Iraq police taking control of Najaf shrine

Najaf Shrine Wall Hit by U.S. Fire-Shi'ite Cleric

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - A senior commander of Shi'ite militants holed up inside a Najaf shrine said the wall of the mosque was hit by U.S. fire on Sunday night.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Sheibani, who is also a top adviser to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said it was hit during fighting.


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