It appears to me that by the President of Iran and his agents have had a hand in this act. It is obvious that this target was selected for shock value – and it appears that the president has completely over played his hand in that his foreign minister just days ago demanded that British and US forces leave Iraq and two days later they brazenly attempt to create to the sentiment in the people of Iraq to drive the British and Americans out. But this has not as of yet come off as planned even though they had their protesters ready and waiting in to act in several key cities.

The real issue is that Iran now fears Invasion and it has far too many miles of border to defend against land invasion and has they been successful with this ploy they might have been able to reduce their border area that needs to be defended by 50%  And despite the news black-out I suspect that Iraqis overwhelmingly suspect Iran’s involvement in this attack.

adnkronos international ^ | Feb. 22, 2006


Tehran, 22 Feb. (AKI) - 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