An influential Sunni cleric involved in Iraq's national reconciliation efforts was wounded on Sunday (August 19th) in a suicide car bombing outside Baghdad, AFP reported.
Sunni Fatwa Commission Chairman Sheikh Mahdi al-Sumaidae and four of his bodyguards suffered injuries when a car bomb exploded near his vehicle. He was leaving a mosque west of the capital after Eid al-Fitr prayers, said family member Ibrahim al-Sumaidae.
"Gunmen tried to stop his car in al-Arba' Shawarei in al-Yarmuk, then a car driven by a suicide bomber hit the sheikh's car and exploded," said al-Sumaidae.
"The sheikh was transferred to an intensive care unit in the Medical City," he said. "He underwent an operation to extract shrapnel fragments from his head, and is suffering cerebral bleeding and deformities caused by burns."
Al-Sumaidae said that after the sheikh returned from Syria over one year ago, he held weekly sessions with provincial tribal sheikhs to urge them to join national reconciliation efforts.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki condemned the attack and blamed it on "terrorists".