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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-315719 Iraq Wrap (L Update)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=5/7/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=IRAQ WRAP (L-UPDATE)

NUMBER=2-315719

BYLINE=NICK SIMEONE

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

/// NEW INFORMATION THROUGHOUT ///

INTRO: American commanders in Iraq say their soldiers are continuing to take fire from armed militias in several Shiite holy cities in the south, despite having been able to install a new governor in Najaf. And as Correspondent Nick Simeone in Washington reports, the cleric who has led a month-long Shiite rebellion addressed followers Friday about the abusive treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of American soldiers.

TEXT: After several days of heavy fighting, the U-S military command in Iraq is not yet ready to declare victory in putting down the rebellion, led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in Karbala and several other southern cities.

But General Mark Kimmitt left no doubt the coalition now has the upper hand.

/// KIMMITT ACT ///

We're running patrols in and out to ensure freedom of movement through Karbala, and right now the situation seems quite calm, with the exception of a couple of small outposts, or pockets of resistance left inside the city.

/// END ACT ///

American soldiers continue to take sporadic fire from Sadr militiamen in Najaf, where a new governor, who is promising to back the U-S led coalition, has now been installed.

/// SECOND KIMMITT ACT ///

Today at midday, coalition patrols were attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire during two engagements. Forces returned fire, killing 12 Moqtada militia.

/// END ACT ///

In nearby Kufa,

/// SOUND OF AL-SADR SUPPORTERS CHANTING ///

disciples of Moqtada al-Sadr gathered for Friday prayers, where the Shiite cleric again urged followers to demand full sovereignty for Iraq with what he said should be an honestly elected government that is independent.

/// SADR ACT IN ARABIC ///

He also labeled President Bush's apology for the abusive treatment of Iraqi prisoners inadequate, saying those responsible for photographing naked Iraqi prisoners in simulated sex acts should be punished in the same way and put in the same prison.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before Congress on the matter, says officials are looking for a way to compensate Iraqis who suffered abuse.

A spokesman for Paul Bremer, the top U-S administrator in Iraq, says Mr. Bremer learned about the prisoner abuse in January, nearly five months before the photos became public. Since then, criminal charges have been brought against six American soldiers, and further investigations are under way. (SIGNED)

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