Imam Ali Mosque bombing


Imam Ali Mosque bombing

Infobox terrorist attack
title=Imam Ali Mosque bombing


caption=The Imam Ali Mosque
location=Najaf, Iraq
target=Imam Ali Mosque
date=August 29, 2003
type=car bomb
fatalities=83
injuries=500+
perps=Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad
The Imam Ali Mosque bombing was the detonation of two car bombs outside of the Shiite Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf on August 29, 2003. The attack killed 83 people crowded around the mosque for Friday prayers, including Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, spiritual leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

The attack was devastating for the Shiite community in Iraq, because such a revered cleric was killed and so many lives were lost. The bombing was the deadliest attack in Iraq in 2003. In response to the attack, thousands of Shiite mourners marched in the streets of cities and towns across Iraq. The mourners, many of whom blamed Saddam Hussein's loyalists for the attack, held anti-Baathist protests. No one has claimed responsibility, and Saddam himself released a taped audio message in which he denied having any involvement.

Investigation

The fact that the attack came in the midst of a pattern of violence against Shia clerics in Najaf in the weeks leading up to his death (Al-Hakim was the fourth to be assassinated) led some to conclude that the attack was most likely motivated by anti-Shia sentiment. On the other hand, the violent history of rivalry between Shia factions and the unexplained circumstances of these attacks has led others to conclude that the attack was most likely carried out by supporters of a rival Shia leader, possibly hardliner Muqtada al-Sadr.

On August 30, 2003, Iraqi authorities arrested four people in connection with the bombing: two former members of the Ba'ath Party from Basra, and two non-Iraqi Arabs from the Salafi sect (a Sunni sect).

According to U.S. and Iraqi officials, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad group was responsible for Hakim's assassination. They claim that Abu Omar al-Kurdi, a top Zarqawi bombmaker who was captured in January 2005, confessed to carrying out this bombing. They also cite Zarqawi's praising of the assassination in several audiotapes. Some sources even state that Zarqawi's father-in-law was the suicide bomber who detonated the bomb. [ [http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny-wozarq0208,0,4101449.story?coll=ny-worldnews-toputility Zarqawi kin reportedly bombed shrine in Iraq] ]

In July 2007, the Iraqi Justice Ministry said that an al-Qaeda in Iraq militant had been executed for his role in the bombing. [ [http://www.abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=3350969 Man Executed for Role in 2003 Iraq Blast] ]

References

External links

* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/an-najaf-imam-ali.htm Imam Ali Mosque]
* [http://www.sacred-destinations.com/iraq/najaf.htm Imam Ali Mosque, Najaf]
* [http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/08/31/sprj.irq.main/ FBI to join mosque bombing probe]


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