For Immediate Release
August 29, 2003
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
"I strongly condemn the bombing today outside the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, Iraq, that killed dozens of innocent Iraqis. This vicious act of terrorism was aimed at Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, at one of Shi'a Islam's holiest sites, and at the hopes of the people of Iraq for freedom, peace, and reconciliation.
"I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and my hopes for a quick recovery for the injured. I have instructed American officials in Iraq to work closely with Iraqi security officials and the Governing Council to determine who committed this terrible attack and bring them to justice. I also extend my sympathies to all Iraqis, and to Shi'a Muslims around the world.
"Ayatollah Hakim had been jailed and tortured for his religious beliefs by the regime of Saddam Hussein, and he had spent many years in exile. He returned to his native land this year, after its liberation. His murder today, along with the murder of many innocent men and women gathered for prayer, demonstrates the cruelty and desperation of the enemies of the Iraqi people.
"The forces of terror must and will be defeated. The united efforts of Iraqis and the international community will succeed in achieving peace and freedom."
STATEMENT BY THE IRAQI GOVERNING COUNCIL
"The noble city of Najaf witnessed a momentous incident after the conclusion of Friday prayers when a car bomb exploded as the entourage of Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim was departing the Noble Courtyard...This caused the martyrdom of Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, several of his entourage, and worshippers, and the injury of scores of those who had come to perform the religious duty of Friday prayer. As we convey our condolences to the Islamic community, the al-Hakim family, the relatives of the victims, the religious authorities of the Muslims, and all sons of our patient Iraqi people, we want to recall that criminal acts such as this reveal the brutality and descent into insanity of the criminals who target a person while he is worshipping. This type of criminal act will only make our people more determined to move forward in building a new Iraq so that security and prosperity will prevail.
"The evil hand that struck Ayatollah Sayyid al-Hakim and his brilliant record in confronting the buried regime will not be able to prevent the realization of his (Hakim's) legitimate goals and supreme humanitarian values."
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR BREMER
"The bombing today in An Najaf shows again that the enemies of the new Iraq will stop at nothing. Again, they have killed innocent Iraqis. Again, they have violated one of Islam's most sacred places. Again, by their heinous action, they have shown the evil face of terrorism.
"On behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the American people and all friends of Iraq, I express my deepest sympathy to the families of those killed and to the injured and their families.
"The Iraqi police have our full cooperation in this important investigation. I pledge that the Coalition will do everything possible to see that the perpetrators are brought to justice."