Saturday, May 15, 2004

Iran, Shiites warn that Iraqi holy cities are -red line-

: "Iran, Shiites warn that Iraqi holy cities are 'red line'

TEHRAN, May 14 (AFP) - Iran and Shiite Muslim leaders warned the United States on Friday that the Iraqi holy cities of Najaf and Karbala were 'red lines' not be crossed.

'We are concerned at the intensification of the fighting in Iraq especially in Najaf and Karbala, and we condemn the killing of innocent Iraqis,' said Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi.

'The responsibility for the insecurity in Iraq falls on the occupiers, and we want the occupying forces to leave Iraq as soon as possible and give authority back to the Iraqis,' he added.

Najaf was shaken by explosions and gunfire Friday as US forces sought to crush an insurgency by renegade Shiite cleric Moqtadar Sadr ahead of the June 30 return of sovereignty."

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