Al-Sadr Forces Keep Weapons In Defiance of "Peace Deal"

DEBKAfile Intelligence

28 August 2004

Najef had its first quiet night Friday as ceasefire went into effect after three weeks of combat. Sadr’s rebel militia filed out of Imam Ali Mosque, handed custody to religious authorities as agreed in deal brokered by Ayatollah Sistani - but kept their weapons in defiance of deal.

US and Iraqi forces pulled back from shrine’s environs except for two tanks at edge of Old City. In Baghdad, US and Iraqi forces clashed with Sadr followers Saturday as US forces cleared Sadr City district of armed men. At least five killed. In Mosul, young woman academic Iman Younis murdered in drive-by shooting.

Bodies of two Turkish truck drivers taken hostage in Iraq found Friday near Baiji, north of Baghdad. Short time before, al Qaeda-linked Islamic Tawheed group posted threat to Ankara against continuing to send military equipment and aid truck convoys to US and British forces in Iraq.