Sunday, January 29, 2006

IRAQ: After years of discord, Najaf enjoys record development

"NAJAF, 29 January (IRIN) - After years of suppression under the regime of Saddam Hussein and fighting between local militias and occupation forces since 2003, the city of Najaf has finally begun to enjoy the fruits of development.

One of the holiest sites in the world for Shi'ite Muslims, Najaf was substantially destroyed during fighting between US forces and the Sadr militia in August 2004. Today, however, the city shows signs of reconstruction and development as pilgrims begin returning en masse to the tombs of revered Shi'ite holy men.

According to some officials, Najaf is now considered one of the safest places in Iraq, despite ongoing violence elsewhere.

"A partnership between residents and the government has brought development and made Najaf the most secure city countrywide," said Kamal Abbas, a senior official at the interior ministry."


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