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Iraqi cleric sought for arrest

April 5, 2004 at 12:27 PM

WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S-led coalition said Monday it will arrest a fiery young Shiite cleric for the murder of a powerful muslim leader last year.

Muqtada al-Sadr, 30, is allegedly behind the April 10, 2003, murder of Abdul Majid al-Khoei at the holy shrine of Ali in Najaf, Iraq.

His deputy, Mustafa al-Yacoubi, was arrested last week for the same incident, setting off what became violent protests around Iraq on Sunday.

The Iraqi arrest warrant for Sadr was issued several months ago, according to coalition spokesman Dan Senor.

Al-Khoei was the son of a former grand ayatollah who had been living in exile in Great Britain for more than a decade. He was considered to be a friend to the western coalition. He was negotiating for the handover for the shrine from pro-Saddam forces.

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