Gunmen killed three Sunni clerics near the mostly Shiite city of Basra in southern Iraq, a government spokesman said on Friday, an apparent sectarian attack that drew immediate calls for calm.

Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan told The Associated Press that the assailants ambushed a car Thursday night carrying the clerics in the mostly Sunni district of Bab al-Zubeir near Basra, shooting dead the three and seriously wounding two other clerics traveling with them.

The ministry, he said, was investigating the killings. He gave no other details. […]