This is bad
Residents looked on at what remained of the
shrine after the explosion.
Blast Destroys Golden Dome of Sacred Shiite Shrine in Samarra
By EDWARD WONG
Published: February 22, 2006
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 22 - Insurgents dressed as police commandos detonated powerful explosives on Wednesday morning inside one of Shiite Islam’s most sacred shrines, destroying most of the building, located in the volatile town of Samarra, and prompting thousands of Shiites to flood into streets across the country in protest.
The golden-domed shrine housed the tombs of two revered leaders of Shiite Islam and symbolized the place where the Imam Mahdi, a mythical, messianic figure, disappeared from this earth. Believers in the imam say he will return when the apocalypse is near, to cleanse the world of its evils.
The blast took place at about 7 a.m. and shook the city of Samarra, a Sunni-dominated area that is nevertheless sacred to Shiites. The gunmen entered the shrine and handcuffed guards in the building, then set about planting the explosives, an official of the provincial governorate said. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but the golden dome was entirely destroyed, as well as three-quarters of the structure.
Samarra has long been one of the most violent cities in Iraq, and American forces there have struggled to contain a virulent Sunni-led insurgency. The American military has tried various offensives, only to have insurgents regroup and carry out further strikes. The Americans have also had little success in propping up Iraqi security forces in the town.
Shiites protestors took to the streets shortly after the explosion. In Baghdad, militiamen loyal to radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who is a fervent believer in the prophecy of the Imam Mahdi, drove through the streets of Sadr City with Kalashnikovs, many accusing the Americans of carrying out the attack
posted by Steve @ 8:05:00 AM