Al-Sadr Never Actually Put His Name To Agreement To Disarm Militia: Five mysterious explosions rock mosque area

DEBKAfile Intelligence

19 August 2004

Heavy fighting in Najef Thursday around Imam Ali Mosque. Awalli government accuses besieged Shiite cleric Sadr of cheating when he offered to accept ceasefire terms and leave mosque with his militia. Instead, all 2,000 militiamen are barricaded inside and shooting from there at US-Iraqi siege force. DEBKAfile notes Sadr never put his name to the offer reaching the National Council in Baghdad Wednesday.

Five loud explosions heard earlier from mosque compound, unexplained after most reporters left shrine city. Clashes in Baghdad’s Shiite quarter leave 50 Iraqis and one US soldier dead.

DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal: Wednesday, US-Iraqi forces transferred to Najef Kurdish Special Forces 36th commando battalion, of mostly Shiite fighters, to spearhead Iraqi military drive into Imam Ali Mosque. As DEBKAfile reported, final showdown began Wednesday night.