updated 6/17/2007 10:50:11 PM ET 2007-06-18T02:50:11

Sheik Jamal al-Din Abdul Karim al-Dabban, Iraq’s top Sunni Arab religious leader, died Sunday, an official said. He was 68.

Al-Dabban suffered a heart attack in his hometown of Tikrit, said Ahmed Khalifa, the spokesman for the governor of the northern city of Tikrit.

Al-Dabban, who had been Iraq’s Sunni religious leader since July 2004, was seen as a moderate who did not play a significant role in the insurgency that followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

He was arrested by American forces in 2006, in what the U.S. military later said was a case of mistaken identity. Huge protests erupted in the streets of Tikrit after the cleric and his two sons were detained. They were released about seven hours later.

Tikrit, which lies 80 miles north of Baghdad, is also Saddam Hussein’s hometown.


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