Sixteen of Najaf's 30-member provincial council resigned in protest at the US-led assault on the Najaf as fighting between the al-Mahdi Army loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr and US occupation forces entered its eighth day.
"We have decided to resign due to what has befallen Najaf and all of Iraq from the hasty US invasion and bombardment of Najaf," the council said in a statement to the press.
The council's resignations came several hours after the deputy governor of Najaf resigned in protest against the US offensive on the city.
"I resign from my post denouncing all the US terrorist operations that they are doing against this holy city," Jawdat Kadam Najim al-Quraishi, deputy governor of Najaf, said on Thursday morning.
On Thursday evening, the director of tribal affairs at the Iraqi Interior ministry announced his resignation through Aljazeera and said he could no longer work with the interim government in good faith given the "carnage and barbaric aggression of the US-led forces in Najaf".
"I am a part of this nation, I am a part of these people. My fellow tribesmen are now fighting in Najaf and Sadr city," said Major-General Marid Abd al-Hasan.
Meanwhile, Basra's deputy governor for administrative affairs, Hajj Salam Awdeh al-Maliky, warned that he may openly join al-Sadr's fight if his offer to send 1000 Iraqi police, special security and national guardsmen to Najaf is refused by the interim government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
Some national guardsmen in Basra had even said they would not hesitate to join al-Sadr's militia if al-Maliky's offer was rejected.
Al-Maliky had warned that Basra would turn into a battlefield if
US occupation forces stormed the inner sanctum of Najaf.
"Basra will become another Najaf," he said.