Samarra Shrine Bombed Again

Samarra Shrine Photos - Before - After - After Again This combination of 3 images shows the stages of destruction of the Askariya Shrine in Samarra, Iraq. From top to bottom: a Feb. 2004 photo of the shrine, the shrine in Feb. 2006 following an explosion which destroyed its dome, and a Wednesday, June 13, 2007 view after insurgents blew up its two minarets. Saboteurs blew up the two minarets of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra early Wednesday, in a repeat of the 2006 attack that shattered its famous golden dome and unleashed a wave of retaliatory sectarian violence that still bloodies Iraq. (AP Photos)The Askariya shrine in Samarra has been bombed again.

Suspected al-Qaida insurgents on Wednesday destroyed the two minarets of the Askariya Shiite shrine in Samarra, authorities reported, in a repeat of a 2006 bombing that shattered its famous Golden Dome and unleashed a wave of retaliatory sectarian violence that still bloodies Iraq.

Police said the attack at about 9 a.m. involved explosives and brought down the two minarets, which had flanked the dome’s ruins. No casualties were reported.

The attack immediately stirred fears of a new explosion of Sunni-Shiite bloodshed. There are close ties between al-Qaida and some Iraqi Sunni militants. State television said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki quickly imposed an indefinite curfew on vehicle traffic and large gatherings in Baghdad as of 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Not good. My understanding, from an NPR report this morning, is that U.S. and Iraqi Shiite troops were guarding the shrine at the time. How sabateurs were able to pull this off despite that safeguard is unclear.

UPDATE: Added AP photo above: “This combination of 3 images shows the stages of destruction of the Askariya Shrine in Samarra, Iraq. From top to bottom: a Feb. 2004 photo of the shrine, the shrine in Feb. 2006 following an explosion which destroyed its dome, and a Wednesday, June 13, 2007 view after insurgents blew up its two minarets.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Andy says:

    Short of a 500,000 troop lockdown, does anyone actually think the American presence can reduce sectarian violence by any amount?

  2. Triumph says:

    Not good. My understanding, from an NPR report this morning, is that U.S. and Iraqi Shiite troops were guarding the shrine at the time. How sabateurs were able to pull this off despite that safeguard is unclear.

    Come on! This is clear evidence that the escalation is working wonders. This is a move of desperation on the part of the terrorists and indicative that the insurgencies are in their last throes.

  3. Tlaloc says:

    I’ve read some reports that it was an inside job done by some of the Iraqi troops tasked with protecting the shrine. That would answer your question.