Report: Al Sadr Escaped Assassination Attempt

The people of Kufa were visibly upset after Friday prayers. Several residents took to the streets to protest for the release of Sadr’s Former aide, Qais al-Khazaali, arrested for the murder of 5 US soldiers.

Shiite women carry a poster showing anti-US radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as they protest against the arrest of an al-Sadr aide, in the holy city of Kufa, Iraq, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Friday, March 23, 2007. The U.S. military on Thursday said a Shiite cleric Qais al-Khazaali has been arrested in connection with a brazen attack on the provincial government of Karbala, also south of Baghdad, Jan. 20 when five American service members were killed. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)

ADN Kronos reported that Nouri Al-Maliki ordered a hit on Moqtada al-Sadr and that the he narrwoly escaped:

Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr narrowly avoided an assassination attempt in recent days in Kufa, south of Baghdad, according to Iraqi deputy Biha al-Araji.

He told Arab newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi that elements linked to the government of Nouri al-Malkiki were behind the plot.

The plan reportedly involved the killing of al-Sadr on Friday while he was preaching inside the Kufa mosque. Once the plot was uncovered though, he decided not to attend the mosque that day. Al-Araji, a member of al-Sadr’s political faction, denied reports that the firebrand cleric had fled abroad to escape the Baghdad security clampdown. “I took part in a meeting of the leadership of the Sadrist faction several days ago and all the leaders were there” he was quoted as saying.

Earlier on Tuesday…
According to Reuters: “U.S. forces raided the home of Mohammed al-Tabtabayi (al-Tabatabaie), an aide to Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, but he was not there at the time. His brother was detained, police said.”

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