Iraqi Parliament Passes Symbolic Measure to Ban U.S., Foreign Forces From Coming Near Shiite Shrine

In a symbolic move, the Iraqi parliament Monday called for banning U.S. and other foreign troops from getting within one kilometer (half a mile) from one of the Shiite Muslims holiest shrines in Iraq a day after American forces carried a raid nearby, a member of parliament said Monday.

The protest vote led by radical anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc came a day after a raid by U.S. and Iraqi troops in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Kazimiyah, which includes the shrine that contains the tombs of two Shiite saints.

The U.S. military said the joint operation was aimed at capturing "high-value individuals" believed to be meeting in the area, but the troops came under small-arms fire after setting up a cordon, and people burned tires in the streets.

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One Iraqi soldier and eight gunmen were killed in the operation, the military said.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Kazimiyah on Monday, waving Iraqi flags and posters of al-Sadr and his late father to protest the operation so near some of Shiite Islam's holiest sites as funerals were held for those killed.

U.S. forces enjoy widespread freedom of operations under a U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized the mission, but the vote and the protests indicated growing frustration among many Iraqis over what many see as a continued occupation, despite the Americans' insistence that the Iraqi government is in the lead.

The military statement said eight individuals were detained and later turned over to the Iraqi security forces. It added that none of the targeted individuals were captured as a result of this operation and all detained individuals were later released.

Bahaa Al-Araji, a member of al-Sadr's bloc, told Iraqi state TV that they had presented the demand to parliament and the majority of legislators present voted for it. Parliamentary officials confirmed the decision was approved, although it is not considered a law. The U.S. command in Baghdad had no immediate comment on the vote.

"Americans are prevented from entering the area around the holy shrine," said al-Araji, one of 30 al-Sadr supporters in the 275-seat parliament.

The Kazimiyah shrine contains the tombs of Imams Moussa al-Kazim and his grandson Mohammed al-Jawad. Both are descendants of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Complete coverage is available in's Iraq Center.