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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

 

AP: Shiite shrine destruction threatens Iraqi civil war

SAMARRA, Iraq - Insurgents posing as police destroyed the golden dome of one of Iraq's holiest Shiite shrines Wednesday, setting off an unprecendented spasm of sectarian violence. Angry crowds thronged the streets, militiamen attacked Sunni mosques, and at least 19 people were killed.

Iraqis gather at the ruins of a Shrine in Samarra, 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006. A large explosion Wednesday heavily damaged the golden dome of one of Iraq's most famous Shiite religious shrines, sending protesters pouring into the streets. It was the third major attack against Shiite targets in as many days. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)Iraqis gather at the ruins of a Shrine in Samarra, 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006. A large explosion Wednesday heavily damaged the golden dome of one of Iraq's most famous Shiite religious shrines, sending protesters pouring into the streets. It was the third major attack against Shiite targets in as many days. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

With the gleaming dome of the 1,200-year-old Askariya shrine reduced to rubble, some Shiites lashed out at the United States as partly to blame.

The violence - many of the 90 attacks on Sunni mosques were carried out by Shiite militias - seemed to push Iraq closer to all-out civil war than at any point in the three years since the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

Many leaders called for calm. "We are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq's unity," said President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd. "We should all stand hand in hand to prevent the danger of a civil war."

President Bush pledged American help to restore the mosque after the bombing north of Baghdad, which dealt a severe blow to U.S. efforts to keep Iraq from falling deeper into sectarian violence.

Full AP-Yahoo News story.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

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