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Sadr City residents rebuild headquarters
BAGHDAD, Iraq (May 11, 2:35 am ADT) - Residents of the Shiite neighborhood Sadr City on Tuesday began rebuilding the headquarters of a militant Shiite Muslim cleric which was destroyed in a tank and helicopter attack by U.S. forces.
The building, used as a district headquarters by forces of Muqtada al-Sadr, was destroyed about midnight Sunday during clashes between U.S. troops and his al-Mahdi Army militia.
At the urging of the al-Mahdi Army, local Shiites brought bricks, cement and gypsum to the site. Parts of the building had already been repaired by midday.
"The city people pulled up their socks when they heard this sorrowful incident," Sheik Malik Swadi said. "Together they embarked on rebuilding the office."
He said the plan was to "revive the building as it is a religious office rather than a center for terror. We wonder why the Americans bombed it...Rebuilding this office is a challenge to the Americans. If they destroy it 10 times, we will revive it 10 times."
The attack on the office occurred at the end of daylong fighting between U.S. troops and the al-Mahdi Army, which the U.S.-led coalition has vowed to disband. Its leader, al-Sadr, is sought in the assassination last year of a rival cleric in Najaf.