Battle of Najaf (2004)


Battle of Najaf (2004)

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Second Battle of Najaf
partof=the Post-invasion Iraq


caption=U.S. soldier looks towards the An Najaf cemetery in Iraq during the Battle of Najaf
date=August 5, 2004 - August 27, 2004
place=Najaf, Iraq
casus= Uprising of the al-Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr
territory=
result=Indecisive (Negotiated ceasefire.)
combatant1=flagicon|United States United States Iraqi State Forces
combatant2=al-Mahdi Army
commander1=Col. Anthony Haslam
commander2=Muqtada al-Sadr
strength1=2,000 U.S. 1,800 Iraqi Security Forces
strength2=Estimates range from 2,000 to 15,000
casualties1=13 killed, 100+ wounded (U.S.) 40 killed, 46 wounded (Iraqi Security Forces)
casualties2=159 killed,, 261 captured
notes=
The Battle of Najaf was fought between U.S. and Iraqi forces on one side and the Islamist Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr on the other in the Iraqi city of Najaf in August 2004.

Background

On July 31, 2004 the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), under the Polish-led Multinational Division Central-South (MND-CS), assumed operational control of An Najaf and Al-Qadisiyyah provinces from Task Force Dragon, which was composed of elements of the 1st Infantry Division. Task Force Dragon had earlier (June 2004) relieved the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment who had been extended twice in Iraq.

The MEU and the Mahdi Army first exchanged fire on August 2, when a United States Marines patrol approached a maternity clinic located directly across the street from the home of Muqtada al-Sadr on the outskirts of the city. The clinic was in an area authorized for U.S. presence under a June cease-fire agreement brokered between coalition forces and Muqtada Sadr by the Governor of Najaf, other local civic leaders, and the Bayt al-Shia (the informal council of senior Shia clerics). Both sides withdrew to their respective strongholds soon afterwards.

The Battle

Major conflict began on August 5, when the Mahdi Army (MA) attacked an Iraqi Police Station at 1 am. Their first attack was repelled but the MA regrouped and attacked again at 3 am. Soon after, a quick reaction force (QRF) from the MEU was dispatched at the request of the governor of An Najaf. Around 11 am the QRF came under heavy machine gun and mortar fire from the Mahdi Army within the Wadi as-Salaam, the largest cemetery in the Muslim world.

A U.S. Marine UH-1N helicopter was shot down by small-arms fire on the second day of the fighting while conducting a close air support mission over enemy positions. Four U.S. military personnel were killed during the heavy street battles fought between the Mahdi Army and U.S. and Iraqi forces, until the MEU withdrew temporarily on August 7. On August 9 the U.S. added three battalions to the battle:
*1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
*2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
*1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.

During the fighting half a dozen U.S. Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles were damaged or disabled by insurgent RPG fire in the narrow streets. One UH-1N helicopter was also shot down without loss of its crew.

Fighting began in the city centre and then moved through the cemetery. After several days the fighting shifted to the environs of the Imam Ali Mosque when the Mahdi Army withdrew and took refuge there. United States Marines from the MEU encircled the complex and began a siege. The fighting damaged two of the minarets of the mosque, one of the holiest of all Shiite shrines. (Although neighboring buildings suffered considerable damage, the mosque itself suffered only superficial damage from stray bullets and shrapnel).

On August 23 at least 15 explosions, many sounding like artillery shells, rocked the area, as shrapnel fell in the courtyard of the gold-domed mosque and gunfire echoed through the alleyways. On August 26, 2004, two F-16s flying out of Balad dropped four 2000 pound JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) on two hotels near the shrine which were being used by the insurgents. The successful airstrike dealt a devastating blow to Sadr and led to a hasty settlement with Sistani the following morning.

Negotiated ceasefire

The battle ended on August 27, 2004 with a ceasefire: both U.S. forces and Mahdi Army agreed to withdraw from the city; Mahdi army fighters surrendered their weapons before leaving and none of them were detained; and the Iraqi police took control of the security in the city. A large number of MA fighters from Najaf went to Sadr City in Baghdad, where there had also been heavy fighting, to help the Mahdi Army in their guerrilla activities against U.S and Iraqi forces. A final agreement between the U.S. and Muqtada al-Sadr was reached by the end of September and fighting ceased in early October.

References

* [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/08/05/iraq.main/index.html Iraqi, U.S. forces battle al-Sadr's militia] CNN, Aug 5, 2004
* [http://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu/04-008.htm 11th MEU Press Release] USMC, July 31, 2004
* [http://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu/04-009.htm 11th MEU Press Release] USMC, August 2, 2004
* [http://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu/04-011.htm 11th MEU Press Release] USMC, August 5, 2004
* [http://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu/04-012.htm 11th MEU Press Release] USMC, August 5, 2004
* [http://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu/04-015.htm 11th MEU Press Release] USMC, August 7, 2004
* [http://www.usmc.mil/11thmeu/04-016.htm 11th MEU Press Release] USMC, August 9, 2004


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Battle of Samarra (2004) — Battle of Samarra Part of the Iraq War Smoke rises from near the Golden Mosque during the battle of Samarra, October 1 …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Najaf — may refer to several battles during the Iraq War:* Battle of Najaf (2003) * Battle of Najaf (2004) * Battle of Najaf (2007) …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Najaf (2003) — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Najaf partof=2003 Invasion of Iraq caption=Destroyed Iraqi T 72 tank on Highway 9 outside Najaf date=March 24 April 4 2003 place=Najaf, Iraq result=American victory combatant1=flagicon|Iraq|1991… …   Wikipedia

  • Najaf — For other uses, see Najaf (disambiguation). An Najaf النجف Imam Ali s Shrine …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Ramadi (2006) — Part of the Iraq War US soldiers take up positions on a street corner during a foot patrol in Ramadi, A …   Wikipedia

  • 2004 in Iraq — See also: Iraq, Occupation of Iraq, 2005 in Iraq, Civil war in IraqEventsJanuary*January 10 Protests in the city of Amarah because of an unemployment crisis. Police officers and soldiers open fire on demonstrators. *January 15 The United Nations… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Basra (2008) — Part of Iraq War, Civil war in Iraq, (Spring Fighting of 2008) Location of Basra …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Baqubah — Part of the Iraq War (Diyala province campaign) Soldiers have a short meeting at an airfield in Baqubah be …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Haditha — Not to be confused with the 2007 film Battle for Haditha which portrays the Haditha killings. Battle of Haditha Part of the Iraq War …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Al Qaim — Operation Matador (Iraq) Part of the Iraq War A large weapons cache in New Ubaydi is destroyed …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.