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Shi'a Pundit

Devoted to the viewpoint of Islam of Muhammad SAW and Amir ul-Mumineen, Ali ibn Abi Talib SA, in the Shi'a Fatimi Ismaili Dawoodi Bohra tradition.

April 1, 2003

too close.

There aren't words to describe the mix of emotions that I am experiencing with these new reports of fighting in Najaf.

Continuous ground fire and airstrikes battered suspected military targets barely a half-mile from one of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims, the tomb of Ali, son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad. Within the city, according to Army intelligence estimates, there are 1,400 to 2,100 Iraqi fighters, made up of Saddam's Fedayeen and Al Quds militias.

Army Special Forces teams operating around Najaf said today that Fedayeen militiamen are converting the Tomb of Ali into a central stronghold, firing rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and automatic weapons from the narrow alleys and neighborhoods around the shrine, which is also adjacent to a market. "It's a rabbit warren," one commander said.

Lanat upon Saddam and his fedayeen. I do recognise, gratefully, that the Coalition forces are doing their utmost to prevent desecration and damage. Still, my heart catches in my throat to read:

Today, five GBU-12 bombs dropped shortly after 3 p.m. (7 a.m. EST) by U.S. Navy F/A-18s ripped through a tree line below the steep slope on which the besieged city sits, obscuring the tomb's gilded mosque dome with billowing black smoke.

I am choking with concern. Can anyone who is not Shi'a truly understand what value these places hold? Is there an analogy that I can invoke to express what I feel? I don't know, words fail me.

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Nahj-ul Balagha

About Shi'a Pundit

Shi'a Pundit was launched in 2002 during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The blog focuses on issues pertaining to Shi'a Islam in the west and in the Islamic world. The author is a member of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. Bohras adhere to the Shi'a Fatimi tradition of Islam, headed by the 52nd Dai al-Mutlaq, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin (TUS).

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