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  Rebels still control Najaf shrine
Updated 21 August 2004, 12.53
Al Mahdi soldiers loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr clash with U.S.
Followers of the rebel Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr are still in control of the Imam Ali shrine in Iraq.

Iraqi officials said on Friday that police had entered the mosque and taken control of the area.

But reporters in Najaf say there are about 1,000 unarmed Sadr supporters still inside the building.

Armed fighters have also been seen covering defending positions outside the shrine and are surrounded by US tanks and armoured vehicles.

Nobody seems to know were Moqtada Sadr is.

On Friday the Moqtada Sadr's rebels seemed to be about give control of the Imam Ali shrine back to the government.

But reports that the keys to the building have been handed over have been denied by people close to the top Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

On Thursday night the city of Najaf came was bombarded by US warplanes, but Friday night passed peacefully.

More InfoBORDER=0
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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Iraq rebels 'leave Najaf shrine'
US warplanes bombard Iraqi city
Fighting as US push into Baghdad
Iraq cleric 'to end Najaf revolt'

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