Blast destroys al Askariya 'Golden Mosque'

Men dressed as police detonate explosives inside, official says

Photographs showed that the dome had been destroyed and that the surrounding area had been heavily damaged.
***In subsequent articles it was revealed that the bombs had been placed in the mosque over a three-day period and while destroying much of the building the charges had been laid in church a manner as to not dusturb the graves of the 10th and 11th Iman burried in the building.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An explosion ripped through a Shiite holy site in Samarra Wednesday, destroying the golden dome of the al Askariya mosque, a U.S. military statement and a local security official said.

An official with the Salahuldin Joint Coordination Center said a group of men dressed as Iraqi Police commandos entered the shrine around 7 a.m. (11 p.m. ET Tuesday) and detonated explosives under the dome, collapsing it and damaging the entire mosque.

The site is sacred to Shia, because they believe Iman al Mehdi will appear at the mosque, bringing them salvation.

Al Mehdi is the 12th and final awaited Imam in Shia Islam. He is the son of Iman Hasan al Askari, the 11th Iman, buried in the shrine. His grandfather, the 10th Iman, 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is said to have disappeared in the Eighth Century during the funeral of his father and is believed by Shia to have been withdrawn by God from the eyes of the people.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.
This is the Mosque that the President of Iran hails. This is the Mosque that Hidden Iman that is supposed to return as the Antichrist. The consequences of this bombing could be huge with Iran Iraq America --and Israel, that could well be blamed for this event. *** And in subsequent articles both the US and Israel were blamed by the Iranian President and their Defense Minister.


Samarra is located in southern Salah ad Din province, about 70 miles (110 km) northwest of Baghdad.

On Tuesday, a car bomb detonated in a marketplace in the southern Baghdad suburb of Dora, killing 20 people and wounding another 25, police said.

The Associated Press reported that the car appeared to be detonated by remote control and was aimed at a police patrol but missed its intended target.

The car bomb was parked near a police checkpoint, and an Iraqi suspected of setting off the blast has been arrested, AP reported.

The explosion left cars burning and nearby stores ablaze, according to AP. Children screamed while women wailed "Our children have died!" and "The terrorists, may God punish them!"

Witnesses told AP that at least four passing cars caught fire and some motorists were killed or seriously wounded in the blast. Ambulances hurried to the scene, while motorists helped ferry the injured to hospitals, AP reported.

Earlier Tuesday, a roadside bombing killed a policeman in central Baghdad and another wounded two civilians, Iraqi police said.

The blasts took place as British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw visited the region and a day after seven attacks killed 16 people and wounded 56.

Straw held talks Tuesday with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani about formation of a new Iraqi government, a Talabani spokesman told Reuters.

Tuesday's first Baghdad bombing took place about 8 a.m. (12 a.m. ET) and targeted a police patrol, taking the life of an officer, Iraqi Emergency Police said. No other details of the attack were available.

The second bombing occurred in Tahrir square as a U.S. convoy passed, according to police. The attack wounded two civilians. No one in the American convoy was hurt.

Also Tuesday, Iraqi police found an unidentified body in the capital with its hands tied behind its back and a bullet hole through the head. A note on the body said, "this is a terrorist who kills innocents."

A U.S. soldier was among those killed in Monday's spate of seven bomb attacks, officials said.

The day's most deadly attack -- a suicide bombing -- took the lives of 10 people and wounded eight others in Baghdad's mostly Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Khadmiye, Iraqi Emergency Police said. No other details were available.