RealNews

Crowd Kills 2 Clerics at Shiite Shrine

A furious crowd hacked two clerics to death in a Shiite Muslim shrine Thursday when a meeting meant to be a model of reconciliation in post-Saddam Iraq erupted into a melee between rivals, witnesses said. The bloodshed underscored how difficult it will be to bridge deep emnities and political rivalries in Iraq as the American military and interim administration led by retired U.S. Gen. Jay Garner tries to fill the power vaccuum left by the collapse of Saddam’s regime. The U.S. military had been eager to display the meeting at the shrine of Imam Ali, considered by Shiites the successor to the prophet Muhammad. The military flew two helicopters of journalists to the holy city of Najaf to see it. But the group arrived at the site too late to witness what happened. One of the slain clerics, Haider al-Kadar, was a widely hated Saddam Hussein loyalist, part of the Iraqi leader’s ministry of religion. The other was Abdul Majid al-Khoei, a high-ranking Shiite cleric and son of one of the religion’s most prominent ayatollahs, or spiritual leaders, who was persecuted by Saddam. Al-Khoei had urged cooperation with U.S. troops. Full Story

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