BAGHDAD, May 25 (UPI) -- Rockets slammed into a Shiites shrine in central Iraq Tuesday, sparking anger and protests.
Security sources said there was no information about the extent of damage to the mausoleum of Imam Ali in Najaf. It was hit by six rockets apparently fired by U.S. forces fighting against Shiite gunmen holed up in the holy city.
The sources said the rockets fell in the central yard of the complex, which also includes a mosque.
The shelling touched off the outcry by the Shiite population, which gathered at the entrance of the mausoleum shouting anti-U.S. slogans and calling for the withdrawal of all armed elements from the city.
Fighting in the vicinity of the holy shrine raged Tuesday morning after overnight battles in which nine Shiite gunmen belonging to the al-Mehdi Army led by rebellious cleric Moqtada Sadr were killed, medics said.
Witnesses said Shiite fighters are confronting U.S. tanks advancing into the city with rocket propelled grenades.
Several gunmen were wounded or killed, they said.