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Saturday, August 07, 2004

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Marines Pushing Deeper Into City Held by Shiites

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Marines Pushing Deeper Into City Held by Shiites: "August 8, 2004
Marines Pushing Deeper Into City Held by Shiites
By JOHN F. BURNS

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 7 - American marines drove deeper into the heart of the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Saturday as they fought Moktada al-Sadr's rebel militiamen, and there was little sign that American commanders, who said they were taking orders from the new Iraqi government, intended to heed appeals for a cease-fire from clerics and others claiming to represent Mr. Sadr.
In three days of fighting, including mostly sporadic battles on Saturday, the marines and supporting units from the new American-trained Iraqi security forces have pushed well into the old city, an area the Americans had avoided in their months of on-and-off fighting with the Mahdi Army, Mr. Sadr's black-uniformed militia. The main battleground has been an ancient cemetery alongside the Imam Ali mosque, a golden-domed shrine that is one of the holiest places for the world's Shiite Muslims."

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