BAGHDAD

A leader in Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s movement was shot dead in southern Iraq on Tuesday, according to an Iraqi police officer.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on Rami al-Shabani in al-Diwaniyah city, killing him instantly, police captain Jamal al-Din al-Sudairy told Anadolu Agency.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the assassination.

Al-Sudairy said an investigation has been launched into the killing.

There was no comment from the Sadrist movement on the attack.

Al-Shabani was a leader in the Peace Brigade, affiliated with the Sadr movement. The Brigade is a member of the pro-government Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Tuesday’s killing came days before the first anniversary of the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone airstrike in Iraq, amid fears of a surge in attacks on US targets by Iran-backed Iraqi militias.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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