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Radical cleric postpones Shiite march to bombed shrine, aide says

(AP) Radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called off his followers’ march toward a bombed Shiite shrine north of Baghdad, two of his aides said Friday. Al-Sadr had called for his followers to march to the Askariya shrine in Samarra known for its shimmering golden dome destroyed by suspected al-Qaida bombers in February 2006. After a second attack toppled the mosque complex’s minarets earlier this month, the cleric called for Shiites to march to the shrine on July 5. “Muqtada al-Sadr has decided to postpone the march to Samarra for several reasons, including the government’s inability to secure the route and many officials’ appeals for a postponement,” said Sheik Asad Al-Nassiri, an aide to the cleric. He made the announcement during a Friday sermon in nearby Kufa. Later, al- Sadr’s spokesman, Sheik Salah al-Obeidi, said the march had been “canceled” because “the government has abandoned protecting pilgrims to Samarra and because of the many appeals.” Earlier Friday, the largest Sunni bloc in Iraq’s parliament called on al-Sadr to cancel the march, saying it was too dangerous. The statement by the Iraqi Accordance Front, which holds 44 seats in the 275-member legislature, came a day after Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki’s Cabinet and the Defense Ministry both made similar pleas, saying the road to the mosque was not yet secure. “We call on our Shiite brothers and those in the al-Sadr movement to postpone their planned visit in July to the Askariya shrine, which was the target of two terrorist criminal attacks that aimed to divide Iraqis,” the statement said. Samarra is a mostly Sunni city about 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

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June 29, 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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