COMMENT: Now CNN has changed the damning 'inside job' headline (see SCREEN SHOT) to a more disguised story that downplays significance. CNN replaced the link and effectively killed the story that this is the 2nd FALSE-FLAG bombing of the Golden mosque (see Feb 2006)-- one of Iraq's most holy places. Both were believed to have been carried out in part by Iraqi forces and directed by Western intelligence. Such self-inflicted violence is only used as a tool to enrage the opposition and further perpetuate the Iraq War. Of course, it just came out that the U.S. is arming Sunni insurgents 'to fight al-Qaeda'-- further evidence that the West seeks to extend the war. Naturally, the bombing has already led to retaliation-- a desired and planned response.
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Authorities have evidence that Wednesday's bombing of Al-Askariya Mosque in Samarra was an inside job, and 15 members of the Iraqi security forces have been arrested, a U.S. military official said.
The attack Wednesday destroyed two towers, referred to as minarets, at the revered Shiite shrine, police said. It was a repeat of the 2006 bombing that sparked Iraq's current wave of deadly sectarian violence.
There was no immediate word on casualties in the city north of Baghdad.
The U.S. military official, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, told CNN's Karl Penhaul that he believes members of the Iraqi security forces who were guarding the site either assisted or directly took part in helping al Qaeda insurgents place and detonate explosives at the mosque's minarets.
"He told me there was no evidence at all that this was an attack using mortars or anything of the like and said, in his words, that this was an inside job," Penhaul told CNN's "American Morning."
Mixon said an additional Iraqi army brigade will be sent to Samarra. So far, there have been no reports of sectarian clashes in the city.
Within hours of the attacks, Iraqi state television announced that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had imposed a curfew for Baghdad until further notice.
A U.S. military official in northern Iraq told The Associated Press that Samarra appeared calm by Wednesday afternoon.
The explosions rocked the town and blew billowing dust clouds into the air, store owner Imad Nagi told the AP.
"After the dust settled, I couldn't see the minarets anymore," Nagi told the AP. "So I closed the shop quickly and went home."
The blast followed clashes between gunmen and Iraqi National Police, who were guarding the holy site. During the firefight, the insurgents entered the mosque, also known as the Golden Dome, planted explosives around the minarets and detonated them.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini called the bombing a "criminal and anti-Islamic action," characterizing it as the "continuation of spiteful attacks of enemies of Iraqi national unity," according to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency.
Hosseini also referred to the "negligence of occupiers to guarantee security in holy sites." Iran, which borders Iraq, is predominantly Shiite. Around 60 percent of Iraqis are Shiite as well.
Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for three days of mourning to mark the destruction of the minarets, according to a statement.
"Let the next three days be mourning days, where we spread the black banners and a call to prayer and shouting God is great in our mosques, whether they are Sunnis or Shiites, and to organize peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins in order for everyone to witness that the only enemy of Iraq is the occupation and therefore everyone must demand its departure or a timetable of its occupation."
The anti-American cleric also said no rival Sunni Arab could have been responsible for the bombing, calling the development a "cursed American-Israeli scenario that aims to spread the turmoil and plant the hatred among the Muslim brethren."
The U.S. ambassador to Iraq and the top U.S. military commander in the country issued a joint condemnation saying that this "brutal action on one of Iraq's holiest shrines is a deliberate attempt by al Qaeda to sow dissent and inflame sectarian strife among the people of Iraq."
"It is an act of desperation by an increasingly beleaguered enemy seeking to obstruct the peaceful, political and economic development of a democratic Iraq," said Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus in a statement.
"We share in the outrage of the Iraqi people against this crime, and we call on all Iraqis to reject this call to violence. We cannot allow these terrorists to work against the interests of the Iraqi people who are seeking peace and prosperity for all."
During the February 2006 strike on the mosque, attackers dressed as Iraqi police commandos bombed and heavily damaged the shrine, collapsing the top half of the dome.
Although Samarra is a predominantly Sunni city, Askariya is one of the four major Shiite shrines in Iraq. Iraq's other major Shiite sites are in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. The fourth is in the Baghdad district of Kadhimiya.
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