Ten Iraqi militiamen killed in Najaf: Sadr spokesman
NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) - Ten militiamen fighting for Moqtada Sadr in the holy city of Najaf were killed in clashes with coalition forces, a spokesman for the firebrand Iraqi Shiite cleric said.
"The Mehdi Army has 10 martyrs," said Sheikh Ahmed Shibani, adding that the worst fighting took place in the vast cemetery area northwest of the shrine of Imam Ali, the most sacred site in Shiite Islam.
"We are ready to confront any American force whatever its size," he added, without specifying whether anyone was wounded in the fighting.
The US-led coalition had no immediate comment on the report.
Friday's clashes, which broke out early morning and lasted for six hours, were among the most intense fighting to rock Najaf since the standoff with Sadr began more than one month ago.
Sadr, who is leading a rebellion across Iraq (news - web sites) against the US-led coalition forces, is wanted over the murder of a rival cleric last year and has stated that he wants to lead his followers to martyrdom.