Minarets Hit at Sacred Shrine

Suspected al-Qaeda strike at Askariya shrine whose bombing last year touched off sectarian violence
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2007 7:49 AM CDT
Women cry in the city of Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, June 13, 2007, as Iraqi Shiites protested a bombing of a holy Shiite shrine in Samarra earlier in the day....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) –  The Askariya mosque, a Shiite shrine whose bombing ignited sectarian violence last year, was attacked again this morning, destroying the minarets left standing after its Golden Dome was shattered earlier. Iraq now braces for a bloody response; US troops rushed to Samarra, and a curfew was called on group gatherings and auto traffic, the AP reports.

The prime minister's party blamed al-Qaeda for attempting to "burn Iraq with the fire of sectarian strife" and called for an investigation. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for peaceful mourning. The mosque, housing the tombs of two early imams, hasn't re-opened since the first assault destroyed its dome, and it’s unclear how the muscular security was breached today. The twice-desecrated shrine is 60 miles from the capital.