Wednesday, March 03, 2004


The Iraqi Governing Council stands in solidarity as an example to the nation.
The coalition official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 15 people were detained in Karbala after the blasts, nine of them in Iraqi custody. The others, being held by coalition forces, included four Farsi speakers thought to be Iranians, the official said. An estimated 100,000 Iranians were believed to have come to Iraq for Ashoura and many Iranians are present around the holy shrines throughout the year.

U.S. officials and Iraqi leaders named an al-Qaida-linked Jordanian militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as a "prime suspect" for the attacks, saying he is seeking to spark a Sunni-Shiite civil war in Iraq to wreck U.S. plans to hand over power to the Iraqis on June 30.

Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council pleaded with Iraqis to remain united - an attempt to avert reprisals. In a sign of unity, Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish council representatives appeared before journalists hours after the attacks urging Iraqis to "maintain unity" to "cheat our enemies of the chance to inflict evil on the nation."

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