BAGHDAD: Shi'ite political leader Abdel Aziz Al Hakim lashed out yesterday at Abu Musab Al Zarqawi's Islamic militants and Saddam Hussein loyalists after a car bombing of a mosque in Baghdad, which he said was aimed at sparking civil war.
"It is quite obvious why there is such an attack. They are trying to create sectarian strife," Hakim said, after at least 15 people died and 39 were wounded when the car bomb exploded outside the Shi'ite mosque.
Hakim was referring to two main factions of the insurgency, Zarqawi's Al Qaeda faction and the followers of Saddam's regime.
The frontrunner in the January 30 elections said the two camps had since 2003 carried out high-profile attacks on Iraq's Shi'ite majority, now poised to rule Iraq, with the goal of instigating sectarian strife.
"Over the last period, they have worked toward achieving this criminal goal. They have killed the late Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqr Al Hakim. They have killed Governing Council members Ezzedine Salim and Akila Hashemi. All these attempts were trying to divide and create strife among the people of Iraq. They did not succeed."
Zarqawi has been accused of carrying out the assassination of Hakim's brother, Mohammed Baqr Al Hakim, in August 2003 in a car bomb that claimed the lives of 82 people in Najaf. Zarqawi's followers claimed the car bombing that killed Salim.