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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Iraq Forces Advance on Najaf Shrine, Battle Rages

It's about timer to give them a ultimatum. Just go in there and get rid of them.
By Michael Georgy

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi security forces moved to within 400 meters (yards) of a holy shrine in Najaf on Tuesday, just hours after the government warned Shi'ite rebels inside they would be killed if they did not surrender.

"God willing, we'll be moving in tonight," a commander of one unit told Reuters, adding that around 500 Iraqi troops had been deployed to the area around the Imam Ali mosque, the first time government forces have entered the battle zone.

The advance was carried out by 50 servicemen and came after U.S. helicopters fired missiles and strafed militia positions in a cemetery that adjoins the mosque, where most of the Mehdi Army loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have holed up during a bloody three-week rebellion in the southern city.

Read the rest here

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