Supporters of the Iraqi Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, remain in control of the shrine in the holy city of Najaf after 16 days of fighting with US-led forces.
There seems to be little damage to the shrine so far
Iraqi government officials had earlier said that police had entered the Imam Ali shrine unopposed and taken control.
But the BBC's Alastair Leithead reports from inside the compound that about 1,000 unarmed Sadr followers are there.
Sporadic clashes broke out between US-led forces and the Mehdi Army militia, interrupting a fragile calm.
But correspondents said the violence was less intense than at most other times during the standoff around the shrine revered by Shia Muslims.
Heavily armed fighters loyal to Mr Sadr remain in defensive positions on streets around the shrine. They are surrounded by US tanks and armoured vehicles.
Elsewhere in Iraq:
- One Polish soldier was killed and six others injured in a roadside blast apparently targeting their convoy near Hilla, southern Iraq.
- A US soldier was killed and two others wounded when their vehicle was hit by a
rocket-propelled grenade in Baghdad, the US military said.
- Two US soldiers died and three were injured when their patrol was attacked in Samarra, in the restive Sunni Triangle region, the US military confirmed.
- Armed men reportedly stormed a prison in the southern city of Amara, freeing inmates, including insurgents who had fought US-led forces.
About 1,000 people, holding banners and photographs of Mr Sadr, occupy the courtyard of the shrine - but appear to have no weapons.
Our correspondent says he was welcomed into the shrine by people from educated classes such as engineers and doctors who say they are human shields there to protect the holy shrine.
Our correspondent says there appears to be little damage to the shrine itself, although a couple of panels have come off one of the minarets.
The standoff continues with little end in sight, he adds.
Nobody seems to know the whereabouts of Mr Sadr.
An aide told reporters on Saturday that talks continued with a view to handing control of the shrine to top Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is recovering from heart surgery in the UK.
But the aide, Ali Smeisim, said talks had stalled over a request from Mr Sadr that Ayatollah Sistani send a delegation to take an inventory of precious items in the mosque.
He said Mr Sadr wanted to make sure his men could not be accused of
A spokesman for Mr Sadr said earlier the cleric's militia would continue to protect the site from the outside, preventing any Iraqi and US troops from entering it.