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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Nothing is Over

All praises due for the successful avoidance of destroying the Imam Ali Shrine in order to "save Najaf," but while that cultural, diplomatic, and religious catastrophe has been sidestepped, nothing is over. Sadr City, Muqtada al Sadr's largest base of support, is still alight, and aerial bombardment of Fallujah continues. From the AP

Shiite militants and U.S. forces battled throughout the Baghdad slum of Sadr City, and a mortar barrage slammed into a busy neighborhood in the capital in a new wave of violence Saturday that killed at least five people and wounded dozens of others.

U.S. warplanes and tanks later bombarded targets in Sunni stronghold of Fallujah, and U.S. forces exchanged gunfire with insurgents along the city's eastern outskirts and the main highway running to neighboring Jordan, witnesses said. The fighting left at least 14 people injured, hospital officials said.

Though Najaf remained calm, fighting flared in Sadr City, an al-Sadr stronghold in Baghdad named for the cleric's slain father, as militants armed with rifles and mortars fought with U.S. forces.

Sadr City has been the scene of repeated clashes in the 16 months since the fall of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), but the violence intensified in recent weeks as the Najaf fighting spread to Shiite communities across the country.

Allawi blamed the continuing violence on renegade al-Sadr followers who do not want to honor the peace deal.

"I believe there are some people who are disobeying Muqtada al-Sadr's orders" to stop fighting, he told Al-Iraqiyah television.

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