Gunmen in the holy city of Najaf have surrounded the house of Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's leading Shiite cleric, and ordered him to leave the country, a cleric in Kuwait said on Sunday.
"Armed groups in Najaf... are threatening Imam Sistani... and demanding he leave Iraq within 48
hours," Mohammed Baqr Musawi al-Muhri said in a statement.
"This group rallied yesterday (Saturday) in front of Imam Sistani's house, shouting 'Live, Live al-Sadr,' and demanding Sistani leave."
Ayatollah Mohammed Sadek al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shiite dignitary, was assassinated in 1999 by Saddam Hussein's regime, sparking major riots in Najaf, one of the holiest cities for Shiite Muslims.