Gunmen on a motorcycle assassinated an official of Iraq's biggest Shiite party Friday in the southern city of Basra, police said. Sheikh Salim al-Dirraji was shot dead in the Hayania district, which had been a stronghold of the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Dirraji was a local official of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the leading rival of al-Sadr's party within the Shiite community.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said he will not allow the country's territory to be used for an attack against Iran. The Iraqi Prime Minister has taken a strong stance against the use of Iraq as a base for an attack against Iran.
In a closed-circuit video conference with US President George W. Bush on Friday, Maliki stressed that he would not permit the country's soil, airspace, or waters to be used in an attack on Iran. "Iraq is no longer a launch pad or pathway for regional military operations," he said.
In addition, the Iraqi leader voiced concern over the use of force to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue and said that he was worried over how another regional military conflict would affect his country.