WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- U.S. Marines distributed more than half a million dollars to people in Najaf Monday who were caught in a major battle in August, the military announced.
That brings to $1.9 million distributed in Najaf as "solatia" or sympathy payments to people who were injured or lost family members in the cross-fire of U.S. forces and the militia of cleric Muqtada Sadr. The Marines are also paying those whose property or businesses were physically damaged.
Payments began Sept. 30. More than 2,660 Najaf residents have been paid. Payments will continue until every valid case is addressed, according to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The city is also receiving millions in reconstruction work as a result of the battle, according to the Marines.
Najaf is one of the holiest cities for Shi'ite Muslims in the Middle East. It is host to the shrine of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet Muhammed.