RealNews

Blast at Mosque Kills An Outspoken Cleric

A powerful explosion that ripped through the compound of a Sunni Muslim mosque in this restive city killed its preacher and at least six students drawn by his calls for a religious war to expel U.S. troops from Iraq, U.S. officials, residents and the victims’ relatives said today. The cause of the blast at the Hassan mosque Monday night has not been determined. U.S. officials said an investigation was underway. At least one Fallujah resident and some U.S. soldiers suggested that the victims of the blast were manufacturing explosives in a three-room cinder-block building next to the mosque. Hospital officials said that the extensive burns suffered by the victims and lack of shrapnel wounds suggested that explosive or incendiary material had detonated accidentally inside the building. That explanation, if proved, would be the clearest indicator yet of involvement by Islamic activists in the simmering guerrilla war in Iraq, adding another dimension to a conflict that U.S. officials say has been driven almost entirely by remnants of ousted president Saddam Hussein’s avowedly secular government. Full Story

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