An official of Iraq's largest Shiite Muslim political movement was killed in Baghdad by gunmen loyal to ousted Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, the group said on Thursday.
A representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) said Muhannad al-Hakim was shot dead near his home in Baghdad's Amil district on Wednesday, following death threats from Saddam backers.
"He had received threats that he would be liquidated, murdered, by the men of the regime," the official said. "They are behind this crime."
The SCIRI official added that in a separate incident an angry crowd in the southern city of Najaf had attacked and murdered an Ali al-Zalimi, an official of Saddam's Baath party who had played a role in crushing an uprising by Iraqi Shiites following the 1991 Gulf War.
"What happened was that that people surrounded him with guns, and proceeded to shoot and beat him," the official said, identifying the killers only as "residents of Najaf who recognized this criminal."
Political violence has flared among Iraq's Shiites, who make up 60 percent of the population, since the fall of Saddam, whose government killed numerous religious leaders of the community he regarded as a fifth column with ties to Shiite Iran.
SCIRI's leader, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim was killed along with about 80 others in August when a car bomb ripped through one of Shiism's holiest shrines where Hakim had just led worshippers in prayer.