Najaf car bombing: At least 80 killed, including supreme Shiite leader

Published August 29th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

A massive car bomb exploded at the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf during Friday prayers, killing at least 80 people, including one of Iraq's most important Shiite clerics, a hospital official said. More than 140 people were wounded. 

 

Among the dead was Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, 64, who had just delivered a sermon calling for Iraqi unity at the shrine. Al Hakim served as the head of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. 

 

Both the al-Hakim supporters and a prominent figure in the U.S.-backed government blamed Saddam Hussein's loyalists for the blast.  

 

The report of the bombing in Najaf came one week after a bomb exploded outside the house of one of Iraqi's most important Shiite clerics, killing three guards and injuring 10 others including family members.  

 

The top U.S. civilian official in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, condemned the attack, saying it demonstrated that "the enemies of the new Iraq will stop at nothing."  

 

"Again, they have killed innocent Iraqis. Again, they have violated one of Islam's most sacred places. Again, by their heinous action, they have shown the evil face of terrorism," Bremer said in a statement. (Albawaba.com)

© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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