"NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. warplanes pounded areas near a shrine where radical Shi'ite militiamen were holed up early on Friday after their leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, defied a final demand from Iraq's interim prime minister to disarm.
"U.S. AC-130 gunships struck repeatedly at positions held by Sadr's Mehdi Army fighters, who have sheltered in and near the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, sacred to Shi'ites around the world." Source
Iraq's Sistani leaves London hospital
"LONDON (Reuters) - Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric, has been discharged from a London hospital after heart surgery, but will stay in Britain for the time-being, says his spokesman ...
"Many Shi'ites regard the reclusive Iranian-born Sistani as their highest religious authority and some experts blame his absence on the latest escalation in violence." Source