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Tuesday, September 2, 2003 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | NEXT: Inquiry into David Kelly’s Death Takes Emotional...
2003-09-02

Hundreds of Thousands Mourn Assassinated Shiite Leader; Bomb Explodes Outside Baghdad Police Office

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Milan Rai, author of the forthcoming Regime Unchanged examines the impact of Friday’s bombing in the holy city of Najaf. The assassinated Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim represented a moderate voice who was a leading critic of Saddam Hussein’s former regime.

A car bomb exploded outside the main police station in Baghdad this morning killing one and injuring at least 15 people. The BBC reports that Baghdad’s U.S.-appointed police chief Hassan Ali was the likely target of the bomb. It was the first major bombing since Friday when between 80 and 120 people were killed after a car bomb exploded outside the Tomb of Ali in Najaf.

Throughout the weekend hundreds of thousands of Shiites traveled to the holy city of Najaf to mourn the death of their spiritual leader Ayatollah Muhammad Baqr al-Hakim who died in the blast.

Al-Hakim headed the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and had lived in exile in Iran for over 20 years before returning after the fall of Baghdad. He was viewed as a moderate by the U.S.

Following the bombing one member of the Iraqi Governing Council, Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum, suspended his membership to protest the lack of security in Iraq.

Ayatollah Hakim’s brother, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who is also on the governing council, said the U.S. military is at fault for failing to provide security.

He said "These troops are ultimately responsible for achieving security and stability. They are ultimately responsible for the innocent blood which is being shed every day in Najaf, Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and all over Iraq."

  • Milan Rai, author of War Plan Iraq and one of the founders of Voices in the Wilderness, UK. His latest book Regime Unchanged (Pluto) is being published in the UK on September 18th.

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