World News

Senior Iraq Shi'ite cleric wounded in bomb attack

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A senior Iraqi Shi’ite cleric was lightly wounded in a bomb attack in the holy city of Kerbala on Thursday that killed two of his bodyguards, police and local officials said.

Sheikh Abdul Mehdi al-Karbalai is a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric, and leads Friday prayers at the revered Imam Hussein shrine in Kerbala.

Officials said a roadside bomb hit Karbalai’s convoy after he left the shrine on Thursday evening. He was wounded in the hand.

“It happened at 9.30 p.m. near a checkpoint in the Old City. It damaged one car, killing two bodyguards and wounding three people including the sheikh himself,” said a health department official in Kerbala, 110 km (68 miles) southwest of Baghdad.

Karbalai was also wounded in a bomb blast near the Imam Hussein shrine in late 2004.

Writing by Dean Yates; Editing by Jon Boyle