An attack on a Shia shine in Samarra killed at least six and wounded others. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fired four mortar shells into the compound of the al-Askari mosque in Samarra, north of the Baghdad. According to witnesses in Samarra, two mortar shells hit the mosque’s famous golden dome, damaging it slightly, while two other shells targeted the courtyard, where many had gathered to offer Ramadan prayers.
Al-Askari mosque contains the tombs of two Shia Imams and was attacked in 2006 and 2007 severely damaging the structure of the shrine and resulting in its closure for two years. Like in any religion, shrines and holy places are very important to Shia Muslims, and ISIL has repeatedly threatened and attempted to destroy them in Iraq just as they destroyed a number of smaller shrines in Syria. The fear and outrage of such attacks has united Shia Muslims to join the Iraqi army to protect the holy shrines.