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U.S. Forces Battle Insurgents in Najaf

U.S. forces move closer to one of Shiite Islam's most sacred sites, the Imam Ali shrine in the city of Najaf. Militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr engage in fierce firefights in the vast cemetery surrounding the shrine with U.S. troops backed by tanks. There are reports the shrine may be damaged by the fighting. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports from Baghdad.

Copyright 2004 NPR

Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.