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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

BBC > Iraq peace mission falls through

A delegation of leading Iraqis that went to Najaf has failed to end a stand-off between Shia militiamen and US-led forces in the holy city.
The delegates went to the Imam Ali shrine to meet radical cleric Moqtada Sadr, who has led a 12-day-old uprising, but he refused to see them.

The convoy, led by a cousin of Mr Sadr, was sent by religious and political leaders at Iraq's national conference.

Heavy clashes continued in Najaf as the group left the site.

Fighting intensified on Tuesday near the Imam Ali shrine, where Mr Sadr and his forces are surrounded by US tanks.

At least one US aircraft dropped bombs on a cemetery - where Mr Sadr's Mehdi militia has taken up positions.

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