Al Sadr urges followers to continue fighting
Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr has urged his Mehdi Army to go on with their fight against US and Iraqi government forces in the holy city of Najaf, a spokesman said Friday.
"Moqtada Sadr has asked his fighters to continue the fight," Sheikh Ahmed al-Shaibani told AFP in the Imam Ali mausoleum in the heart of Najaf.
"The Mehdi Army is prepared to quit the mausoleum and hand over the keys to the leaders of the Marjaiya (the highest Shiite authority in Iraq), Ali Sistani and Kazem al-Haeri, but unfortunately they are not here," said Shaibani.
"We will not give the keys to the holy place to police because that would be the same as giving them to the American forces," stressed Shaibani.
"We will not disband the Mehdi Army, because we don't have the right to do so. This is the army of Imam Mehdi," he added.
"We will defend not only the Ali shrine, but also the holy city of Najaf, which is as sacred as Mecca," he added.
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