Shi'ite fighters were still in control of the Imam Ali mosque in the Iraqi city of Najaf on Saturday morning, but the whereabouts of their leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, were unknown.
Around four huge blasts were heard across the holy city early on Saturday, though the cause of the explosions was not clear.
According to Reuters, witnesses said late on Friday that Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Sadr also controlled the narrow alleys leading to the mosque, although the government said earlier it seized the shrine.
Sadr's aide Sheikh Ahmad al-Sheibani denied Interior Ministry declarations that police had entered the shrine and arrested hundreds of fighters. He said there were talks to hand the keys of the mosque to Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. (albawaba.com)
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