The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq accused the toppled Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, of being behind the assassination of its head Ayatollah - Mohammad Baqir al Hakim.
Prominent leader of the council, Hamed al Bayati, reiterated to Al Bawaba via telephone from his London office that Saddam and his loyalists were behind the assassination of their leader, where a bomb-laden car exploded during Friday prayers outside Imam Ali’s mosque in the Iraqi city of Najjaf. The attack is reported to have killed up to 120 people including Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al Hakim - one of the Shiite Muslims most important clerics - and injured more than 200 others.
“The first beneficiaries from this act are those who do not want a stable Iraq. They are the same people who destroyed Iraq previously…they are Saddam and his gang of loyalists,” said Bayati, who ruled out the possibility that the Shiite leader Muqtada al Sader and his faction, or any other Shiite groups were behind the assassination.
Recently, certain groups accused Sader’s faction of a futile assassination attempt on the life of Ayatollah Mohammad Said al Hakim, but Sader strongly denied such accusations. “I do not think any Shiite group is involved in the attack, however Saddam and his loyalists are the ones we accuse,” said Bayati, adding, “the booby trapped car needed advanced technology which is only available to terror organizations such as Saddam and his loyalists.”
When asked whether he has any concerns that Hakim’s assassination might lead to sectarian unrest in Iraq, Bayati said, “those behind the explosion might have sought to create unrest but this will not happen.” Bayati added, “Those who had bet on unrest between the various sectarian groups in Iraq have lost their bets a long time ago…people used to say that Iraq would be divided when Saddam is toppled, and there would be a civil war between Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Turkmen…but this has not happened and we pray to God that it will not happen.”
Bayati asserted, “The attack did not target Hakim personally, but rather the political system he used to preach…a moderate Islamic political line that represents Iraq’s many groups and factions and free of occupation.”
While Bayati admits that the assassination will have a big impact on the political situation in Iraq, he reiterates that Iraq has many prominent figures who will be able to replace cleric.
Last week, an official at the Supreme Council warned, in a statement to Al Bawaba, against “an organized plan targeting influential Shiite leaders in Iraq.” The council’s spokesperson - Mohsen al Hakim - made the statement after an unsuccessful attempt against the life of Ayatollah Mohammad Said al Hakim - uncle of the now-assassinated Shiite cleric Mohammad Baqir al Hakim.
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