Iraq developments 4/7/04
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
A radical Shiite cleric sought by U.S. forces said he was willing to die resisting any attempt to capture him. Aides said Muqtada al-Sadr moved from the fortress-like mosque in Kufa, where he had been holed up, to the nearby holy city of Najaf.
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said American military commanders in Iraq will get additional troops if they request them. About 135,000 U.S. troops now are in Iraq -- "an unusually high level," Rumsfeld said.
Top U.S. administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer conceded on ABC's "Good Morning America" that not all was going smoothly as the coalition approached a June 30 handover of sovereignty to the Iraqis. But Bremer, who canceled a trip to Washington this week because of the mounting violence, said Iraq remains "on track" toward democracy.
U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met politicians, women's groups and human rights activists in his quest to help the country decide on an interim government to take power June 30. The coalition is providing security for Brahimi and his team, and U.N. officials did not know where the meetings were taking place.
El Salvador's military said the situation in Najaf was "peaceful" and five of its 12 soldiers wounded Sunday were returning to duty. One Salvadoran soldier and one American soldier also were killed when al-Sadr supporters opened fire on a Spanish garrison during a street protest there.