Al-Askari shrine in Iraq bombed again
June 13: The insurgents in Iraq have hit the famous Muslim Al-Askari shrine once again, deteriorating further the relations between the two sects of Muslims, Sunni and Shia.
Revered by Muslims throughout the world especially Shia sect, the two minarets of Al-Askari Shrine, one of the holiest pilgrimage centres for Muslims, have been damaged by an explosion, allegedly planted by insurgents in Samarra region of the country.
Reports pouring out of the U.S. controlled country in the West-Asia confirmed that the minarets have collapsed after being hit by a bomb blast. The blast occurred around 1030 Indian Standard Time (IST). The Shrine at Samarra houses the mortal remains of revered Islamic followers - Imam Hassan-ul-Askari, who left this world in 874 AD, and his father Imam Ali Al-Hadi, who left this world 868 AD. The Shia sect considers them as the 10th and 11th imams with direct lineage to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Shrine attracts pilgrims from around the world.
Earlier the Golden Dome Al-Askari shrine was bombed by suspected insurgents on February 22, 2006, unleashing a wave of violence that blooded the country for more than one year. Sectarian violence is still prevalent in most parts of the mixed populated areas in the country and observers fear that the recent bombing might deteriorate the situation.
Shia clerics, within Samarra region, have pointed their fingers towards the fanatics responsible for fuelling the sectarian violence. "It is a terrorist attack aimed at sparking sectarian violence," Sheikh Saleh al-Haidari was quoted by AFP news agency.
Being a mixed populated area, Samarra remained centre of the armed insurgency against US troops and the Shia-dominated Iraqi administration since US and its allies invaded Islamic Republic of Iraq and arrested Saddam Hussain. Hussain was executed by an Iraqi court for the crimes against humanity.
The spiral minaret on top of one of the city's other holy sites, the Great Mosque of Samarra, was damaged in April 2003. The Mosque is under the supervision of Sunni Muslims.
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