Iraqi Leaders Call for Unity Following Mosque Bombing
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 14, 2007 Iraqi leaders yesterday called for unity from the Askra Mosque, the scene of another terrorist attack.
Salahuddin province Gov. Hamed Hamoud Shekti made a public announcement from the Askira Mosque at around 11 a.m. and met with religious students, asking for the sheiks and educated people of Samarra to come forward and be the city’s eyes to watch out for outsiders who continue to attack the city and mosque.
"You are sons and grandsons of the two greatest imams who ever lived," Hamoud said. "Please stop the sabotage and destruction, and work on the aims and goals of the city."
Two minarets were destroyed in explosions at around 9 a.m. yesterday.
Immediately following the attack, Brig. Gen. Duraid Ali Ahmed Mohammad Azzawi, deputy commander for the national police in Samarra, arrested the emergency service unit commander and 12 policemen responsible for security at the time of the attack.
"We must condemn the bad actions of terrorists, and the sons of all tribes must come together and forgive each other," Hamoud said. "We need to work for reconciliation. … Shiia and Sunni must work together for Iraq."
Iraqi security forces are investigating the cause of the destruction.
In combat operations, coalition forces detained 25 suspected terrorists throughout the country yesterday and today.
Coalition forces raided a series of buildings west of Tarmiyah seeking to capture associates of an al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader. The ground force detained seven individuals on the scene for their alleged ties to an al Qaeda leader, including one individual believed to be a close associate of Umar al Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.
During coordinated raids targeting a senior leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, coalition forces detained nine suspected terrorists east of Amiriyah. The nine individuals detained are suspected of being associates of an al Qaeda in Iraq regional leader.
In Mosul, coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists for their alleged ties to an al Qaeda senior leader in northern Iraq. One of the six suspects detained is believed to be an al Qaeda in Iraq cell leader as well as an associate of the al Qaeda emir of Kirkuk.
Three suspected terrorists also were detained during operations in Baghdad. The individuals detained are suspected of being members of the Baghdad car-bomb network, which is responsible for conducting attacks on Iraqi civilians, as well as Iraqi and coalition forces.
"Coalition forces will continue deliberate and methodical operations in order to hunt down and capture or kill those terrorists who are trying to prevent a peaceful and stable Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman.
(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq and Multinational Force Iraq news releases.)