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Sadr Calls for Renewed Truce - 2004-08-05


Radical Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has called for a truce to be restored, after fighting between his supporters and U.S. and British forces in the southern city of Najaf.

The cleric's followers say he wants the ceasefire negotiated in June to be observed again. But hours earlier, he called on followers to fight U.S. forces, who his supporters say provoked clashes by surrounding the cleric's house.

Officials from Iraq's interim government say Thursday's fighting erupted after al-Sadr supporters attacked a police station. In the clash, a U.S. Marine helicopter was shot down and its crew was rescued.

And near Najaf, an American soldier was killed in an attack on his convoy.

South of Baghdad, a car bomb killed five people. Later Thursday, insurgents fired mortars at Baghdad hotels housing westerners, but no one was reported injured.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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