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Ayatollah al-Sistani Returns to Iraq - 2004-08-25


Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has returned to Iraq after undergoing treatment for a heart condition in Britain.

Witnesses say a convoy carrying the cleric crossed into Iraq from Kuwait Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani says he plans to travel to Najaf to save the city from fighting.

He also said the religious leader is calling on Iraqis to prepare to march on Najaf, where U.S. and Iraqi forces have been battling armed supporters of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for weeks.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has called on the fighters to leave the Imam Ali shrine they have been using as a base.

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

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