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Sadrists Allegedly Murder Rival Shia Elders in Basra

As reported in today's Al-Hayat ("Shaikhiya Faction Accuses 'Mahdi Army' of Assassinating Two"), the Shaikhiya Faction is accusing the Sadrist Mahdi Army of murdering two of its elders. The article quoted Shaikh Amar al-Faiz, head of the Awlad Amar tribe and a leader in the Shaikhiya, as saying that four men in black dress stopped their vehicle at a security checkpoint, took one to a Sadrist-dominated neighborhood, and when the other called the police, the police arrived but joined the kidnappers. The article does not indicate how this information was procured, although it does cite multiple local sources as giving alternative explanations for the hit; some saying that in the city there was an ongoing Sadrist-Shaikhiya contest over local business, or alternatively that it might have been part of a theological struggle, as the Shaikhiya had been excluded from local positions by Shia previously based in Iran.

Al-Hayat notes that the Skaikhiya are a Shia faction not aligned with any prominent religious authority nor aligned with any of the major political parties.