Cleric Urges Groups to Leave Holy Cities

AFP Cleric Urges Groups to Leave Holy Cities (AP) – Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric on Tuesday demanded that all armed groups withdraw from the embattled holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, where nine militiamen loyal to a rebel cleric were killed in heavy fighting with U.S. forces. The statement by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani came after the U.S. administrator in Iraq vowed to continue the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis as scheduled despite Monday’s killing of the head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.