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Ceasefire Starts in Najaf After Arrival of Sistani

HeadlineAug 27, 2004

A ceasefire has begun in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf ending three weeks of fighting between the U.S. military and backers of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr. The country’s leading Shiite religious leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, arrived in Najaf with over 10,000 supporters yesterday to meet with Sadr. Sadr ordered his Mahdi Army to disarm and hand over the keys to the holy shrine. As part of the ceasefire agreement the US agreed to pull its troops out of Najaf. In addition. Sadr was guaranteed the right to participate in Iraqi politics even though he was charged by the US occupation authorities with murder.

Meanwhile the Iraqi Health Ministry reported 110 people were killed and 500 were wounded in Najaf and Kufa yesterday. At least 27 Iraqis died in Kufa when mortars slammed into the city’s main mosque. Another 20 people died when a Shiite crowd marching to Najaf came under fire.

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