Another Sunni cleric dies of wounds in southern city of Basra

 Azzaman, January 6, 2015

Another Sunni cleric has died following an attack by unidentified gunmen near the southern city of Basra.

This brings the number of Sunni clerics killed in the January 1 assault to four.

The attack on a vehicle carrying five Sunni clerics killed three of them instantly and seriously wounding two others. One of the wounded has already died.

The killing has drawn strong condemnation from senior government officials and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered an investigation.

Sunnis are a small minority in the Shiite-dominated Province of Basra. They are mainly concentrated in the district of Zubair.

However, many of them have fled their areas and resettled in predominately Sunni central Iraq. There has been a lot of sectarian cleansing in the country with Shiites or Sunnis fleeing to areas which are mainly inhabited by members of own sect.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the killings have raised tensions and fears of sectarian reprisals.