Christian Action Network

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Iraq braces for sectarian retaliation after attack on Shi’ite mosque

(ABC News) Iraqis are bracing for a new wave of sectarian violence after militants again attacked the revered Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Samarra. Suspected al-Qaeda fighters destroyed two minarets that flanked the ruins of the old golden dome, which was destroyed in an attack early last year. That attack unleashed fierce retaliatory action that left nearly 150 people dead. The US military and the Iraqi Government are appealing for calm, but there’s not much chance of that. Washington Correspondent Michael Rowland reports. MICHEAL ROWLAND: The second bombing of the al-Askari Mosque within 15 months was as brazen as it was effective. In broad daylight, the perpetrators managed to infiltrate a ring of Iraqi guards and plant explosives at the base of two minarets that rose above the Shi’ite holy site. The subsequent blasts not only brought down the golden towers, they also sent shockwaves through a country well aware of the potential ramifications. US Military Spokesman Brigadier-General Kevin Bergner. KEVIN BERGNER: Today’s attack on the al-Askari Mosque is an affront to the values and dignity of people from all religions. We join with the people of Iraq in condemning this action. It is further proof of the enemy’s indiscriminate violence, and the depths to which they will go to incite hatred. MICHAEL ROWLAND: US commanders say it’s a signature al-Qaeda attack, an act aimed at inciting violence between Shi’ites and Sunnis. That was certainly the impact of last year’s bombing of the Samarra mosque. The destruction of the golden dome triggered a wave of tit-for-tat sectarian killings that laid the groundwork for the entrenched sectarian violence that continues to this day. President George Bush has been briefed by military leaders on the ground, and White House Spokesman Tony Snow says the US is very keen to avoid having this latest attack used as a similar catalyst. TONY SNOW: What happened after the original bombing of the mosque in Samarra, I don’t think the Iraqi Government or the United States Government quite understood what was going to happen in terms of the sectarian reaction. In this case, I think people are acutely aware of what the dangers may be, and therefore are moving swiftly to address it as rapidly as possible so that al-Qaeda cannot have the same kind of success, twisted success, it had the first time around. MICHAEL ROWLAND: The bombers have already achieved some success. A number of Sunni mosques in Baghdad have been attacked, and politicians loyal to the radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al Sadr have boycotted the Iraqi Parliament. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, already on very shaky political ground, has imposed an indefinite curfew on the streets of Baghdad and is appealing for calm. TONY EASTLEY: Michael Rowland in Washington.

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June 14, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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