Sunday, April 13, 2003

Background on the situation in Najaf

and, from Al-Jazeera,

a report that the siege on al-Sistani's home, blogged below, has ended

Armed men are reported to have lifted a siege of the home of Shia spiritual leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in the early hours of Monday hours before the expiry of a 48-hour deadline they had imposed for the cleric to to leave the country.The circumstances of the withdrawal of members of a group calling itself the Jimaat-E-Sadr-Thani are still unclear but if confirmed they will come as a relief to the residents of the central Iraqi city of Najaf who have seen their 'liberated' city torn apart by inter-Shia strife.