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Prayers and gunfire from Sadr's men in black

There was a burst of gunfire and bullets hit the wall of a green-domed mosque in the town of Kufa, smashing into the masonry just in front of our car. The firing, probably from a heavy machine-gun, came from the other side of a bridge over the river Euphrates. They may have been the last shots fired in anger by the 1,400 Spanish soldiers in Iraq before they began to withdraw. When the shooting started we were driving beside the white wall of the Muslim bin Akeel mosque out of Kufa to the holy city of Najaf a few miles away. We heard shots and then the staccato rattle of machine-guns. We swerved off the road to take cover behind the mosque. Above us black-clad gunmen of the Army of the Mehdi raced along the high wall of the mosque to return the fire. An officer, waving a pistol, seemed to be shouting orders to them.Full Story

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