Iraq: August 16, 2004


Iraqi and American troops have moved back into Najaf, with orders to surround the Imam Ali shrine complex. The government also ordered all journalists out of Najaf, leaving only those embedded with American military units. Nine days of fighting has left nearly 500 of Sadrs men dead, as well as five Americans and twenty Iraqi police and soldiers. Sadrs men are using the shrine as a base now, and are firing automatic weapons and mortars from inside. The government plans to use Iraqi troops to retake the shrine, if the rebels cannot be convinced to abandon it.  Meanwhile, negotiations continue, with Shia Arab leaders demanding that Sadr get out of the shrine.


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