RealNews

Showdown in Najaf

Agence-France Press reports that US troops Tuesday briefly seized a key senior aide to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Sheikh Hazem al-Aaraji was taken in for “questioning” as he attended a meeting of tribal leaders at the Sheraton Hotel in Baghdad. Mr. Aaraji last week led anti-US protests that gridlocked the city center. The Toronto Star reports Monday the US High Command in Iraq issued a “Wanted, Dead or Alive” order for Mr. Sadr, who is in Najaf, Iraq’s holiest Shiite city. Sadr, the Guardian reports, has said that he is “willing to die” for the campaign to end the US occupation of Iraq. Tuesday the US moved 2,500 troops near Najaf including armored units, but not without incident. The Associated Press reports that the convoy hit a roadside bomb and was attacked by gunmen. One American soldier was killed, while several others were wounded, including a US civilian contractor. Full Story

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