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More Sunni Mosques Bombed in Iraq
BASRA — A revered Sunni mosque was destroyed in a bomb attack near the southern Shiite city of Basra on Friday, June 15, in the latest of retaliation attacks to the bombing of a Shiite shrine last week.
"The (Talha Ibn Obeidallah) mosque is completely destroyed," Major General Ali Mussawi, the head of a government-formed security committee for Basra, was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
He said that the mosque was destroyed by a group of people pretending to film the worship place.
"They said they wanted to film the mosque. But they went after planting bombs around it," he said.
He said two explosions within minutes of each other rocked the place, destroying its two domes and a minaret, adding that the mosque security guards have been detained and the site surrounded by troops.
Several Sunni mosques have been attacked or bombed in tit-for-tat violence since Wednesday's bombing of the Shiite Al-Askari shrine in the northern town of Samarra.
On Thursday, two Sunni mosques in Iskandiriyah and one in Mahawil, both south of Baghdad, were bombed.
Blasts destroyed the minarets of the Al-Askari shrine, sparking fears of fresh sectarian bloodletting in the war-torn country.
The Samarra shrine was first attacked in February 2006.
The US military said on Friday that more than 650 Iraqi and US troops have been sent to guard the Al-Askari shrine after Wednesday's attack.
The retaliatory attack on the Sunni mosque came as the US military said that the new troops surge in Iraq ordered by President George W. Bush has completed, Reuters reported.