[Marxism] Regime change in Najaf
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 6 14:37:36 MDT 2004
Sources: Al-Sadr supporters take over Najaf
U.S. Marines move into Fallujah
Tuesday, April 6, 2004 Posted: 2:11 PM EDT (1811 GMT)
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Supporters of maverick Muslim cleric Muqtada
al-Sadr controlled government, religious and security buildings in the
holy city of Najaf early Tuesday evening, according to a coalition
source in southern Iraq.
The source said al-Sadr's followers controlled the governor's office,
police stations and the Imam Ali mosque, one of Shia Muslim's holiest
Iraqi police were negotiating to regain their stations, the source said.
The source also said al-Sadr was busing followers into Najaf from Sadr
City in Baghdad and that many members of his outlawed militia, Mehdi's
Army, were from surrounding provinces.
Business people are closing their shops and either leaving the city or
hoarding their wares in their homes, the source said.
Late Tuesday, U.S. Marines moved into Fallujah from several directions,
coming under heavy fire from insurgents.
The move comes the day after U.S. Marines sealed off Fallujah in
response to the killing and mutilation of four American civilian
security contractors last week.
About 1,300 troops from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, along with
Iraqi armed forces, set up a cordon around the city Monday, said Brig.
Gen. Mark Kimmitt, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad. The operation
has been dubbed Operation Vigilant Resolve.
Seven Marines have been killed since Saturday in the al Anbar province
-- where Fallujah is located -- but the coalition has only confirmed one
as a direct result of the Fallujah conflict.
Tuesday, Abrams tanks and infantry fighting vehicles led the Marine
columns across a railway line north of the city into urban areas, where
they were fired on by assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The tanks and mounted grenade launchers picked off rooftop snipers,
destroying at least three houses in the process.
Earlier Tuesday, Marines patrolling the northern side of Fallujah came
under fire. The Marines sent an Abrams tank and several Humvees to
reinforce the patrol, along with helicopters.
One Marine was seriously wounded and evacuated to a combat hospital.
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