Gunmen on Wednesday killed a Muslim cleric outside a mosque in a predominantly Sunni neighborhood of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The assailants escaped the scene in a vehicle and their whereabouts are unknown.
Security forces cordoned off the area after the attack and launched an investigation into the possible motive behind the attack.
Also on Wednesday, a senior counter-terrorism police official died following at a powerful explosion in western Baghdad. Brigadier General Arkan Ali Mohammad was killed when a bomb attached to his car went off in al-Nisoor Square of the Iraqi capital. Four bystanders, a traffic officers and an official with the Iraqi Interior Ministry were also wounded in the blast.
Meanwhile, press reports on Wednesday claimed an al Qaeda plot to blow up the Dome of the Shrine of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib in Najaf (southern Iraq), by a plane taking off from the city's airport. A newspaper quoted senior Iraqi counter-terrorism official as saying: "There were intelligence tips that led to the foiling of a plot to attack the shrine of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib in Najaf, by a plane taking off from the airport of Najaf. Thus, the authorities decided close the airport and to stop all flights until further notice. "