epa000246980 Fighters of the resistance army (Mahdi Army) during fightings with the local Iraqi police in Najaf, Iraq, Monday 09 August 2004. The radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr refused Monday to withdraw his military from the holy Iraqi city of Najaf. His refusal came a day after interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi
visited the city to demand that ‘lawless’ militia fighters leave. Al-Sadr said in Najaf his so-called ‘Mahdi army’ would fight ‘to
the last drop of blood’. The only alternative was for Allawi to take serious steps towards negotiations’, he added. EPA/Mohamed Messara

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