Unknown people have attacked the offices of two of Iraq's top four Shiite clerics in the central city of Najaf with sound bombs, a security official there said on Wednesday.
"The office of Grand Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi in central Najaf city was attacked with a sound bomb on Tuesday evening," the official said, adding that "there was an attack with a sound bomb that targeted the office of Grand Ayatollah Ishaq al-Fayadh on Sunday evening."
Both are members of the marjaiya, which is composed of the four top Shiite clerics here.
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The attacks, which came after the interior ministry said it had withdrawn "surplus" guards from the clerics, caused material damage but no casualties, the official added.
"The ministry withdrew the surplus of bodyguards ... because there are some personalities who have more than they need," the interior ministry said on Wednesday.
Sadr al-Din al-Qubanchi, a leading Shiite cleric, said during a meeting with Najafi that "it is natural that the marjas are targeted, because they follow the true path," said the head of Qubanchi's office, Abdul Latif al-Amidi.
"It is not possible to keep silent anymore and we wait for the marjas to condemn these actions and we demand the government to do its job," Qubanchi was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Amidi quoted Najafi as saying the target "is not Bashir al-Najafi or Ishaq al-Fayadh; the target is the religion and the (Shiite) sect," and that "we urge our brothers to call on the officials to do their job."