Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said an attempt was made on his life Sunday during a visit to a Shi'ite holy city in southern Iraq, adding that about 60 men armed with pistols, knives and swords planned to attack him.
Allawi, a secular Shi'ite, said the attempt was made while he was performing prayers at the Shrine of Imam Ali, one of the holiest Shi'ite sites in Iraq. He said that he went to Najaf at the invitation of the city's top clerics.
"They were planning to kill the whole delegation, or at least me," Allawi told reporters shortly after he arrived back in Baghdad. "One of them took out his pistol, but he panicked and it fell from his hand."