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  US warplanes bombard Iraqi city
Updated 20 August 2004, 07.58
Najaf was attacked by tanks and planes
US warplanes and tanks have been attacking the city of Najaf in an attempt to move on rebels who have been gathering at a holy shrine there.

The attacks began after Iraq's Prime Minister asked the rebels, loyal to the cleric Moqtada Sadr, to give up their weapons and leave the Imam Ali mosque

The bombing went on for more than 30 minutes, and the explosions could be heard several kilometres away.

It's not yet clear how many people have been hurt in the attacks.

People near Najaf reported seeing orange flashes in the sky, followed by large clouds of smoke near the mosque where the Shia rebels are gathering.

The fighting died down at around dawn.

Final warning

The bombing started after Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi gave the rebels a final warning.

Earlier this week Moqtada Sadr suggested the rebels would leave the shrine but they haven't.

The Imam Ali shrine is considered a special place for Muslims and the crisis is being seen as a big test for the new Iraqi government which came in at the end of June,

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