( dpa ) - Lebanon's top Shiite Muslim cleric issued a religious edict Monday banning attacks on public utilities in Iraq, specifically the oil industry.
"We stress the contents of the fatwa that it is prohibited to attack properties and public wealth, whether it is oil wealth or other types of wealth, and attacks on people, their lives, security, stability, property or honour," Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said in a statement urging Iraqis to work for stability in their country.
Fadlallah's comments came after radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his Shiite militiamen off the streets after days of clashes with government forces in southern Iraq, mainly in the oil-rich city of Basra.
Since hostilities began last Tuesday, two oil pipelines were attacked in Basra. The first targeted a domestic pipeline that links the Noor oil field in the southern Maysan province to the refinery in Basra.
On Thursday a bomb hit the Zubair-1 pipeline that sends crude oil from the Basra Zubair oil field to tanks for Iraq's two exporting terminals on the Gulf.
Fighting between al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia and Iraqi and US- led multinational troops has been raging since Tuesday.
The battles there sparked violence in other southern cities and in Baghdad.
"We call upon all Iraqi factions, groups and sides not to protect anyone who tries to harm people's personal interests and we call on everyone to start a constructive dialogue," he said.