Iran: US, Israel behind Samarra attack

Gee, that didn’t take long, did it? From AKI, Feb. 22:

Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has announced a week of mourning following the attack Wednesday morning on one of the holiest Shiite shrines at Samarra in Iraq, and accused the Americans and Israelis of responsibility. In a statement, the Iranian leader says those behind the attack were “the occupation forces and Zionism, which seeing their plans for Iraq dissolve, have planned this atrocity to sew hate between Muslims and fuel divisions between Sunnis and Shiites”. In Iran, where 90 per cent of the population is Shiite, the attack against the shrine has caused disgust and consternation.

Ayatollah Khamenei went on to appeal to Shiites to “not fall into the enemy trap by attacking mosques and sacred places of [their] Sunni brothers”.

“The enemy”, Khamenei concludes “wants nothing more than weakening the Islamic front, right as Muslims with a single voice have been protesting against the continual provocations of their enemies”, an apparent reference to protests around the Muslim world at Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

“The attack this morning in Samarra had one aim, to divide Muslims” said the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi. “This attack shows on one hand that the aim is to cause divisions within the ummah (global Muslim community) trying to turn Shiites against their Sunni brothers. “On the other it is a clear sign that the occupying armies are incapable of guaranteeing the security of Iraq or fighting terrorism” Asefi added.

Iranian imams will be invited to dedicate their Friday sermons to the attack.

The United States called the bombers “enemies of all faiths and of all humanity” and vowed to hunt down those behind the blast.

Washington’s ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the top US commander in the country, General George Casey, issued a joint statement saying the US would contribute to the shrine’s reconstruction.

The golden dome of the al-Askari shrine – part of the Imam Ali al-Hadi mausoleum – was destroyed when six men dressed as policemen entered the mosque at dawn on Wednesday and placed explosive devices. The Iraqi authorities said afterwards that ten people, including several foreigners, had been arrested in connection with the bombing.

The shrine is one of two tombs in Samarra for revered Shiite imams, which attract pilgrims from around the world.

At least Khamenei is calling for Shiite-Sunni unity, and condemning revenge violence. I suppose we should be grateful for that. Hell, if anything can bring the Shiites and Sunnis together, it’s mutual hatred of the “Zionists”!

See our last posts on Iraq and Iran.

  1. Being taken seriously
    This is a caption on a AP photo that ran in Ha’aretz:

    Shi’ites walking on an Israeli flag Sat. in Bombay in protest of the Askariya shrine bombing. (AP)