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US, Iraqi Forces Prepare for Assault on Shi'ite Rebels in Holy City - 2004-08-11


US, Iraqi and British forces are battling Shi'ite militiamen across central and southern Iraq, as the interim government tries to end the uprising which has killed dozens over the past week.

In Najaf, the U.S. military said it is preparing with Iraqi forces for a major assault against armed supporters of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Speaking on Arab television, Iraq's interim vice president (Ibrahim al-Jaafari) called on the U.S.-led multinational forces to leave Najaf and for only Iraqi troops to defend the Shi'ite holy city.

Further east, in Amara, British forces clashed overnight with militiamen. At least 10 rebels were reported killed.

Meanwhile, northeast of Baghdad (in Mahmodiya), at least six Iraqis were killed and 10 wounded in a bomb blast near a busy market.

And a leader of Iraq's largest Shi'ite movement, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, was shot dead.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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