RealNews

Iraq Rebels Leave Najaf Shrine, Hand in Weapons

Shi’ite fighters left the holiest shrine in the Iraqi city of Najaf Friday and began turning in their weapons, after tens of thousands of pilgrims celebrated a peace agreement that ended a bloody rebellion. Religious authorities locked the doors of the Imam Ali mosque after the Mehdi Army militia of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr left. The fighters had defied U.S. military firepower and the interim Iraqi government for three weeks. Iraq’s most revered cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, made a dramatic return to Najaf Thursday and persuaded Sadr to accept a peace deal to halt the fighting, after a day of violence in which 110 Iraqis were killed and 501 wounded. Militants tossed AK-47 assault rifles and mortar launchers into wooden carts being pushed around near the shrine. Mosque loudspeaker announcements in Sadr’s name gave the order. Full Story

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