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Al-Najaf Blast Kills Two, Wounds Five

28 September 2005 -- An attacker set off an explosion today in the home of a bodyguard of Iraq's radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, killing at least two people and wounding five others.

An aide to the cleric, Ahmed al-Rwazeq, said the blast went off at sunset in the holy city of Al-Najaf, south of Baghdad, and sparked a fire in the house. He said that immediately afterward, a man was seen running away and jumping into a car that left the scene.

The victims were relatives of al-Sadr's bodyguard, Qassem Mansour, who was not at home at the time.

Al-Sadr blamed officials in Al-Najaf, saying in a statement released by his office in Baghdad that they "are responsible for insecurity" in the city.

Al-Sadr has a following among Shi'ites, particularly the poor and young, in Baghdad.