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Iraq: Shi'ite Leader Assassinated In Najaf

Kuwait, 10 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Senior Iraqi Sh'ite leader Abdul Majid al-Khoei was assassinated at a mosque in the holy city of Najaf, a member of his family foundation told Reuters. Ali Jabr, a member of the London-based Khoei foundation, confirmed to Reuters by phone that Majid was dead. The murder is sure to raise tensions among Iraq's majority Shi'ite population.

Majid is the son of the late Grand Ayatollah al-Khoei, spiritual leader of Iraq's Shi'ites at the time of the 1991 Gulf War.

Al-Khoei's nephew, Jawad al-Khoei, told Reuters from the Iranian holy city of of Qom that Abdul Majid was stabbed to death at the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, one of the holiest shrines for Shi'ite Muslims.

"An hour ago we talked to the persons who were with him at the time of the incident. They said he was martyred by treacherous hands," Jawad al-Khoei said.