Hezbollah leader visits top Shiite cleric
BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of the militant Hezbollah group Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah made a rare trip to visit to a top Shiite cleric visiting Lebanon for medical checkups, the group’s media office said Tuesday.
It is rare for Nasrallah to make public appearances, or leave his secret locations, for fear of assassination by Israel.
The Hezbollah media office said that Nasrallah visited Grand Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi and discussed “Muslim affairs with him.” It did not elaborate or say where the meeting took place.
Al-Najafi arrived in Beirut last week where he was supposed to undergo medical tests.
Al-Najafi, a Pakistani, is one of the most influential Shiite clerics worldwide and has been based in the Iraqi Shiite holy city of Najaf for decades. He is one of four top Shiite clerics based in Najaf.
Najaf, known for its dozens of seminaries, is the center of Shiite Islam’s religious leadership, to which many of the world’s 200 million Shiites turn for spiritual and political guidance.
Nasrallah did some of his religious studies in Najaf before moving to the Iranian holy city of Qom, fleeing Saddam Hussein’s persecution of Shiites.