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U.S. Military Says Shiite Rebels Seem to Have Ceded Karbala

American commanders said early Sunday that insurgents loyal to a rebel cleric appeared to have given up control of central Karbala, where they had been shielding themselves at two shrines. According to the commanders, there were several strong signs that the armed supporters of Moktada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric, have abandoned the area and ceded authority to the Americans and their allies after nearly three weeks of urban combat. A large overnight raid met no resistance coming from a group of buildings where insurgents had been firing at American tanks with rocket-propelled grenades. Civilians were seen returning to homes in central Karbala that they had abandoned during fierce fighting. And in the afternoon on Saturday, tribal sheiks approached American commanders offering to persuade the militia, the Mahdi Army, to lay down its arms and leave the city. Full Story

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