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BREAKING NEWS! Civil War in Iraq Now a Very Real Possibility

The Postman

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http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast ... index.html

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A group of men dressed like Iraqi police commandos set off explosives at the al Askariya "Golden Mosque" in Samarra on Wednesday morning, heavily damaging the Shiite holy site, Iraqi government officials and the U.S. military said.

Photographs from the scene showed little evidence of the golden dome that once towered above the mosque. Mounds of debris littered the area.

The attack, which occurred at 7 a.m. in Salaheddin province, home to a large Sunni Arab population, triggered other attacks, protests across the country and fears of more sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari urged Iraqis to stay unified, saying the attack was an effort to incite sectarian violence. In a taped address on al Iraqiya TV, he called on all Iraqi political parties to condemn the mosque attack and asked Sunni and Shiite Iraqis to demonstrate in Samarra, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad.

He also declared a three-day period of mourning and ordered the Ministries of Defense and of Housing and Reconstruction to assess damage and begin quickly the reconstruction of the shrine.

Foreign fighters were likely responsible, and the attack bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said.

"They are really testing the patience of the Iraqi people," he said, calling on Muslims around the world to condemn "this act of terrorism."

Ten people -- all dressed as Iraqi police commandos -- have been arrested, al-Rubaie said.

"This is a day of great tragedy for all Iraqis," said Hussein al-Shihristani, deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

"The crime that has taken place in Samarra is against Iraq, is against one of the holiest places in the country and the whole population is extremely hurt by what they have heard."

The Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party called the attack "an extreme crime" and called for an investigation into who was responsible. Later, its office in Baghdad and two local Sunni mosques were attacked, police said.

Gunmen stormed the Iraqi Islamic Party's office, evacuated its employees and torched the place. The main entrance to Al Hamza mosque, which escaped damage, came under machine-gun fire and was burned. A rocket-propelled grenade caused damage to the entrance of the Mustafa mosque.

Security was being beefed up around all mosques in Baghdad, police said.

Following noon prayers, 4,000 demonstrators in Baghdad walked from the office of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr toward a nearby mosque, a spokesman for his office said. By the time the march ended, the number of people had swelled to 10,000, the spokesperson said. It was one of several protests in Baghdad neighborhoods, Iraqi Emergency Police said.

Al-Sadr cut short a visit to Lebanon and was returning to Iraq, where he was planning to make a televised statement.

The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has calling for a week of mourning, said Hamed al-Khafaf, a spokesman for the powerful Shiite cleric.

Al-Sistani is calling for all businesses to close in protest for three days and for all Shiite and Sunni Iraqis to express themselves in peaceful protest, not with violence, al-Khafaf said.

In Samarra, several hundred people gathered at the mosque and at the mayor's office, denouncing the Iraqi government and the U.S. military, authorities said.

Thousands of protesters also took to the streets in Najaf, Iraqi Emergency Police said.

The al Askariya Golden Mosque is sacred to Shiites, because they believe Imam al Mehdi, the 12th and final awaited imam, will appear at the mosque to bring them salvation.

He is the son of Imam Hasan al Askari, the 11th imam, buried in the shrine. His grandfather, the 10th imam, is also buried there.

Al Mehdi is said to have disappeared in the eighth century during the funeral of his father and is believed by Shiites to have been withdrawn by God from the eyes of the people. They are waiting for him to reappear as their leader, believing the event will take place in Samarra.

Shiites vs Sunnis, round II, fight! Hey at least the US presence in Iraq is stablizing that region. 8)

The destruction of ancient structures is just heartbreaking. Especially such magnificent buildings as the Askari "golden mosque." This is only going to get worse before it gets any better. The tension between Sunni and Shiite Muslims was already pretty thick, and this would be pretty much like Russia nuking New York to get the cold war hot.

http://www.tampabays10.com/war/war_arti ... ryid=26069

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP)—Gunmen in Iraq have killed a Sunni cleric in Baghdad as protests erupted following an explosion at a famous Shiite shrine.

The Iraqi Army says the cleric was sprayed with bullets as he entered a mosque.

Shiite leaders have been calling for calm following an early morning attack at a shrine in Samarra. But a leading Sunni politician says militants have attacked 29 Sunni mosques nationwide. He fears the situation could get "out of control."

No one has claimed responsibility for the Samarra attack, which heavily damaged the mosque's golden dome. But investigators think Sunni extremist groups could be to blame.

The government says "several suspects" have been detained.

Police think some people might be buried under the debris, but no casualties have been confirmed.

Retaliations have begun. A cleric has just been murdered.

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Iraq might be the perfect example of muslims getting used to violence, getting sick of it and prefer being safe over being a good muslim and retaliating. I dont think it will change much at all there. If it happened in Iran or Saudi Arabia they would react alot more

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