Senior Sadr aide assassinated
Fierce fighting broke out in Baghdad's Sadr City slum late on Friday after a senior aide to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was killed in the holy city of Najaf to the south. Heavy gunfire erupted at around 11:00 p.m. in several parts of the slum.
As the fighting raged, loudspeakers on mosques blared out speeches in support of Sadr's Mehdi Army fighters. "We will not allow the Americans to enter the city whatever happens, if we lose our lives and our sons," they said, according to Reuters.
In Najaf, police set up road blocks and drove through the city with loudspeakers ordering shops closed and people off the streets after senior Sadr aide Riyadh al-Nuri was assassinated. "This is the hand of the occupier and his successor reaching out traitorously and aggressively against our precious martyr," Sadr said in a statement. "It is my vow that I will not forget this precious blood."