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Intense Fighting In Najaf Following Shrine Damage; Four Brits Dead In Baghdad
Violent battles between US aggressor forces and Jaysh al-Mahdi militiamen loyal to Shi‘i religious leader Muqtada as-Sadr overnight in the holy city of Najaf left at least one person dead and 20 injured, a hospital official said. The toll was likely to rise because ambulances had been dispatched to recover more casualties, according to the official, Fadil ‘Abbas. He also said the hospital was waiting for relatives of four people killed in clashes the previous night to identify the bodies. The US invaders provided no reports of US casualties in the fighting in an-Najaf, south of Baghdad.
An Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim cleric walks past the damage to a doorway after a blast at the shrine of Imam Ali in the holy city of Najaf May 25, 2004. The Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, the holiest Shi'ite site in Iraq, was damaged by rockets or mortars, witnesses said -- a development likely to spark outrage among Iraq's Shi'ite majority. (Akram Saleh/Reuters)
Some of the overnight combat occurred in the Revolution of 1920 Square and was so intense the steel fence between the square and an adjacent cemetery was destroyed. Three mortar rounds landed about 300 yards from the Imam ‘Ali shrine, one of Islam's holiest sites. Witnesses said there were no casualties.
US aggressor forces shelled the historic tombs of early Muslim leaders left 14 Iraqis dead, including three women. According to medical sources, most of the victims of the US shelling were Iraqi puppet policemen and civilians.
Holy Site Damaged
One of the most sacred shrines of Shia Islam suffered damage during clashes Tuesday when a missile landed at the inner gate of the shrine that leads to the tomb of Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib
After the fighting, locals gathered at the Imam Ali shrine to look at the damage. The inner gate of the shrine, leading into the tomb of Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib, appeared to have been hit by a projectile. Debris was scattered on the ground.
Al-Jazeera television showed a torn veil covering the gate, and damage on the wall around it. It also showed several injured people lying on the floor of the mosque compound, and an angry crowd of more than 100 shouting and shaking their fists at the site.
Supporters of Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr accused the Americans firing mortars at the mosque, and said 12 people were injured in the mosque compound. The U.S. command in Baghdad said it was investigating reports of damage.
Another projectile landed outside the shrine, about 10 yards away from the outer wall. Three militiamen were injured in that attack, and three fighters were killed in fighting in the city, al-Sadr's office said.
Imam Ali was the Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law and he is the most revered saint among Shiite Muslims.
Iraqi Resistance Bomb Kills Four Brits In Baghdad
An Iraqi Resistance bomb exploded yesterday near the headquarters of the US occupation in Baghdad, destroying an armor-plated car and killing four. The British Foreign Office admitted that two of the dead were British subjects. It also said that one other British citizen was wounded in the Resistance attack. Al-‘Arabiyah satellite TV reported eyewitnesses as saying that all four persons killed in the car were foreigners.
American occupation soldiers tried to pull the men from the shattered vehicle and quickly sealed off the area, said witness Kamil Raji. The blast occurred near one of the main entrances to the so-called “Green Zone.”
US Army Colonel John Murray confirmed four deaths in the Resistance blast, and said an American medical unit was treating two injured people. “We don't think it was a suicide bomber. We are still talking to eyewitnesses,” Murray said, adding that the car had armor plating.
Reuters reported Iraqi puppet security sources as saying that the armor-plated car was registered to a “private” mercenary security company.
Muhammad Na‘im, a noncommissioned puppet policeman, who saw the car explode, said the vehicle was a white bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser en route to the convention center in the so-called “Green Zone.” Taxi driver Muhammad Salih said he was about 20 yards away and heard shooting after the explosion. “I saw the roof of the car flying,” he said.
After the Resistance attack, the aggressor troops responded, as is usual in any such attack, by indiscriminately spraying the area with gunfire. ‘Ali Salman, who works at a nearby restaurant, said the car was in a convoy, and two men in an accompanying car started “haphazardly shooting.” “The passengers got out and started shooting and then raced off,” said Salman, who sought shelter behind a pillar.