Iraqi security forces seized on Wednesday the headquarters of a powerful Sunni Muslim group which has long opposed the U.S. military presence in Iraq, the group said.
The security forces which is affiliated to the Sunni Endowment cordoned off and stormed the headquarters of the Association of Muslim Scholars in the Um al-Qura mosque in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Ghazaliyah, the group said in a statement posted on its website.
The Sunni Endowment is a state-owned agency that runs the Sunni mosques in Iraq.
Employees of the headquarters were told to remove from the compound before midday and to cut the transmission of the group's radio station which operates in the compound, the statement said.
But some unarmed employees inside the headquarters refused to leave their positions and staged a sit-in, it added.
The group held Abdul Ghafoor al-Samarrai, head of the Sunni Endowment, responsible for safety of its employees.
The Association, headed by Sheikh Harith Sulaiman al-Dhari, was formed by a group of Sunny scholars on April 14, 2003, only four days after the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad by aU.S.-led invasion.
The group refused to join the political process in the war-torn country and remained as opposition group, saying the process whilst Iraq is under occupation is unjust.