ISIS fired mortars landed just outside of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra today, killing at least six and wounding nine people just outside the gate of the golden domed mosque, one of the most important shrines in Shi’ite Islam.
The Askari Mosque has been targeted over the years by Sunni militants, with its dome destroyed in a 2006 bombing by al-Qaeda affiliates, and its golden minarets destroyed in an attack in 2007.
Attacking the mosque fueled outrage across the Shi’ite community in Iraq and abroad, though the site was fully restored by 2009. The ISIS targeting of the site again is likely one of the few things that could mobilize Iraqi Shi’ites against them more than they already are.
The city of Samarra is mostly Sunni, and ISIS has aimed to take it over, though its status as such an important historical Shi’ite pilgrimage destination means Iraq won’t give it up easily.