10 Iraqis dead in Najaf

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Six other militiamen loyal to Sadr were reported wounded in overnight fighting with US-led coalition forces in the nearby town of Karbala as it geared for a major religious celebration.

Witnesses in Najaf, 160km south of Baghdad, reported fighting yesterday between Spanish and Ecuadoran forces and Sadr supporters in three neighbourhoods and the road leading north to Karbala.

The clashes in Karbala erupted as tens of thousands of pilgrims flocked to the city for a major religious holiday Sunday to mark the 40th day after the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, who is revered by Shiites.

The Polish spokesman said there were no casualties among coalition forces but added that the situation was “tense” in the city.