First Published: 2007-06-15

 
Iraq Sunni shrine bombed amid reprisal attacks
 

US military announces deaths of five more soldiers, taking losses of this month to 36.

 

Middle East Online

Mussawi: ‘The structure is completely destroyed’

BASRA, Iraq - Assailants pretending to be a film crew destroyed a Sunni shrine near the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Friday as militants carried out more revenge attacks for the bombing of a Shiite shrine.

The US military, meanwhile, announced the deaths of five more soldiers taking its losses already this month to 36.

The shrine of Talha bin Obeidallah in the town of Zubair, west of overwhelmingly Shiite Basra, was destroyed at dawn, an Iraqi army officer said.

"A group of people carrying a camera arrived at the Talha bin Obeidallah shrine at 6:00 am (0200 GMT)," said Major General Ali Mussawi.

"They said they wanted to film the mosque. But they went about planting bombs around it.

"The structure is completely destroyed," he said, adding that the shrine's security guards had been detained for questioning.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki condemned what he described as a terrorist act and ordered an indefinite curfew imposed on British-patrolled Basra from 4:00 pm (1200 GMT) to prevent any further tit-for-tat violence.

"The terrorist act which targeted the shrine came as part of a series of crimes aimed at inflaming sectarian passions among the sons of the country," the Shiite premier said in a statement.

"Those who have committed it are enemies of Allah, the country and the people."

Several Sunni mosques have been attacked in tit-for-tat violence since Wednesday's bombing of the Shiite Al-Askari shrine in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad.

Immediately after the bombing, at least four Sunni mosques were targeted, three south of Baghdad in the town of Iskandiriyah and one in the capital.

Three more were hit on Thursday and the US military said a Shiite mosque in the town of Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad, was also attacked.

But the imposition of curfews in both Samarra and Baghdad helped prevent any wider outbreak of sectarian violence.

It was an attack on the same Samarra shrine by Al-Qaeda militants in February 2006 that triggered the sectarian fighting between the Shiite majority and the Sunni minority that rages on to this day.

The earlier bombing destroyed the shrine's golden dome.

US officials say Wednesday's bombing, in which the mosque's two gold-topped minarets were destroyed, was also the work of Al-Qaeda.

More than 650 Iraqi and US troop reinforcements have been sent to reinforce protection of the shrine since the attack, the US military said.

Iraqi authorities have also detained 13 police guards at the shrine for questioning.

Police snipers posted around the shrine shot dead two suspects, police Major Ahmed Majid said from the provincial capital of Tikrit.

The five more deaths announced by the US military took its losses since the 2003 invasion to 3,512, according to a count based on Pentagon figures.

Three of the soldiers died from wounds sustained in a roadside bombing in the northern oil city of Kirkuk on Thursday.

A joint Iraqi and US team meanwhile raided the office of the movement of Shiite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr in the town of Suwaira, southeast of Baghdad, police Lieutenant Najim Abdullah said.

"A team of Iraqi and US forces raided Sadr's office in the town. There was an exchange of fire in which two militants were killed," Abdullah said.

The officer's director, Sheikh Haider al-Mussawi, and five other people were detained, he added.

The US military in Baghdad had no immediate comment.

 

Trump seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace, lashes out at Iran again

Iran’s reformists sweep to power across major cities

Turkey's alleged coup ringleaders stand trial

Israel makes concessions to Palestinians 'at Trump's request'

Ivanka hales Saudi progress on women’s rights

Istanbul demolishes nightclub targeted in New Year attack

WHO says 315 cholera deaths in Yemen in under one month

Tunisia police use tear gas on protesters

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

GCC and Arab League call for Yemen unity

Looming showdown between Egypt’s president, judges

Netanyahu says will discuss peace efforts with Trump

Bahrain sentences Shiite cleric to suspended jail term

Trump scandals no issue for Saudi says minister

Saudi women celebrate easing of guardianship system, call for more freedoms

Hamas sentences three to death for commander assassination

Rouhani faces fight with hardliners in US, Iran after election win

Trump to urge Muslim leaders to fight extremism in major speech

Trump tells Sisi he will soon visit Egypt

US, Saudi agree arms deals worth almost $110 billion

Iran's Rouhani wins re-election

Egypt marks MS804 crash with ceremony and no information

Trump lands in Riyadh on first foreign tour

IS bombing kills 35 in Iraq

US Pentagon plans to 'annihilate' IS

Dictator's nephew apologises to Tunisia for corruption

Trump heads to Saudi Arabia as domestic scandals mount

Ebrahim Raisi: hardline challenger in Iran

US and Saudi Arabia blacklist Hezbollah 'terrorist'

UN envoy slams deadly attack in Libya's south

Syria, allies condemn attack by US-led coalition

Iranians vote to choose their president

Festive mood as Iranians flock to polls

Turkey takes aim at opposition journalists in continuing crackdown

Syria talks enter final day as tensions simmer over coalition strike

Hassan Rouhani: moderate cleric open to the world

Sweden drops probe against Julian Assange

EU's Juncker, Tusk to meet Turkey's Erdogan Thursday in Brussels

Nearly 23,500 Yemen cholera cases in three weeks

Israel arrests 2 after deadly West Bank clash

Sudan's Bashir to skip Trump-Muslim summit for 'personal reasons'

Saudi looks to assert regional leadership against Iran

Syrian warring sides agree to new UN process on constitution

US-led warplanes hit Syria pro-regime forces