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Ironduke
04 Sep 03,, 06:25
Shia cleric 'escapes assassination'

A prominent Shia cleric has been assaulted outside a Baghdad shrine in an apparent assassination attempt, reports say.
Sayyed Ali al-Waadi al-Musawi, a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, said he and his guards were shot at near the Kadhimiya shrine in the Iraqi capital.

Three people were detained and handed over to the Iraqi police.

The alleged attack comes after Ayatollah Hakim and more than 120 others were killed in a car bomb attack at a Shia shrine in Najaf.

Security criticised

"Thanks be to God, none of my guards was injured," Mr al-Musawi told the AFP news agency.

His bodyguards exchanged fire with the attackers - at least one of whom is believed to have been injured in the gunfight.

Mr al-Musawi criticised both coalition forces and the Iraqi police for their response to the attack.

"The Iraqi police just lay on the ground in fear throughout the exchange," he told the agency.

"And the coalition forces failed to cordon off the area to mount any search for the attackers," he said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3079052.stm