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New Fighting in Najaf - 2004-08-23


U.S. forces have reportedly launched an air attack on parts of the Iraqi holy city of Najaf -- against positions held by Iraqi Shi'ite militiamen.

Sources in Najaf say the latest fighting took place overnight Sunday near the Imam Ali mosque, one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam.

Militant leaders say at least one of the shrine's walls was damaged in the fighting. But the Associated Press is quoting the U.S. military as saying the charge is untrue.

The latest fighting comes as talks in Najaf between Shi'ite religious leaders and rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's militias are said to remain at an impasse.

Separately, the U.S. military says five U.S. military personnel have been killed in separate incidents in Iraq. Also, two Iraqis died in a car bombing, north of Baghdad.

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

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