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Agence France-Presse, PTI
Kuwait City, April 14, 2003
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.