RealNews

It's Friday in Najaf, attacks on schedule

As U.S. troops launched patrols Friday in this holy city engulfed in a confrontation with a rebel Shiite cleric, they were steeled for ambushes, gun battles and rocket attacks that form a violent backdrop to the Muslim day of prayer. And one by one — as if on a schedule — fights unfurled across the area. Army scouts on one bank of the Euphrates River came under attack by insurgents on the other side and engaged in a firefight across the water. In another clash, militiamen attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, and U.S. troops countered with M1-A1 Abrams tanks. On the road out of nearby Kufa, gunfire came from a black sedan carrying a top aide to the cleric. An Army patrol fired back and arrested the aide. About two dozen members of Moqtada Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army were believed to have been killed as artillery rounds, tank blasts and mortars thundered on a hot, sunny day. Three U.S. soldiers were lightly wounded. Full Story

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