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Iraqi Police May Be Used in Raids

U.S. military leaders say local security forces could help retake holy sites from insurgents. As another day of fighting killed nearly 40 Iraqis in southern Iraq, U.S. military leaders Thursday raised the possibility of using Iraqi police forces to forcibly enter shrines where they believe militants have taken refuge. Military patrols have been battling daily with militants believed affiliated with Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose private militia seized key parts of the holy cities of Najaf and Kufa in April, occupying mosques and police stations. Sadr’s militia controls the Kufa mosque and the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, two of Shiite Islam’s holiest sites. Army commanders in the area have been ordered not to fire directly at the mosques. “We can’t have American boots on the ground in those sites,” said Lt. Col. Pat White, commander of the U.S. base near Kufa. “But when Iraqi security forces are ready, they could deny insurgents use of the facilities.” Full Story

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