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Video shows moment top Saudi cleric shot in Philippines

Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni is receiving treatment after being shot in Zamboanga, a city in southern Philippines
A gunman opens fire on the car of Saudi cleric Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni (YouTube screen grab)

A video broadcast by television in the Philippines on Wednesday purported to show the shooting of top Saudi cleric Sheikh Aaidh al-Qarni.

Mensahe television aired the 40-second clip, which shows a gunman pulling a gun and shooting at Qarni through the window of his white vehicle.

The 57-year-old cleric was leaving Western Mindanao State University in Zamboanga, where he had been giving a public lecture, when he was shot.

He was hit in the hand, arm, and shoulder, by an as yet unidentified gunman. 

Filipino police escorts killed the lone assailant, while two other suspects who were seen with the gunman were arrested as they tried to escape, police said.

"The suspect popped up from the crowd, moved in close and shot the victim" as he was boarding his car, said city police spokeswoman Chief Inspector Helen Galvez.

Islamic State (IS) militants, who control vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, had called on "lone wolves" to attack Qarni and several other Saudi clerics whom they accused of apostasy in the latest issue of Dabiq, their monthly online magazine.

However, authorities have not yet linked sympathisers of IS to Tuesday's attack.

Qarni is being treated in hospital and is understood to be in a stable condition.

A Saudi diplomat who was accompanying him was also injured in the shooting.

Saudi Arabia announced after the shooting that a plane was being sent to the Philippines to pick up the cleric and return him to the kingdom. 

Qarni is often described as a senior Islamic scholar and has more than 12 million Twitter followers. In 2012, Qarni was refused entry to the United States despite holding an American visa and he was later told that he was on a “no fly” list.

The Sheikh has previously advocated religious war against American troops in Iraq and against the Israeli army.  

Zamboanga, 800 kilometres south of Manila, is one of the largest cities in the southern Philippines, an area troubled by a decades-long separatist rebellion by the mainly Catholic nation's Muslim minority that has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

The port city has a mixed Christian and Muslim population and has been a frequent target of attacks by local Muslim militant groups.

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