Awful news this morning as up to 100 people died in Najaf, including a prominent shiite cleric. The car bomb went off outside the Ali temple, where Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim had just been speaking. This building was at risk earlier in the year when it was the centre of a siege.
From the Indepedent: "The bomb was set off outside the Shrine of Imam Ali Mosque, the resting place of one of Shia Islam's two most revered saints. The blast was so powerful it damaged shops across the street, blew a deep crater in the ground and smashed several cars to pieces. Decorative work outside the shrine was also damaged."
From the Kansas City Star: "The site of Friday's car bombing that killed Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim is revered by the world's 120 million Shiite Muslims and has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries... Historians say the gold-domed mosque of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib - named after the slain cousin and son-in-law of Islam's prophet Muhammad - was built in 977 in Najaf, a city regarded by Shiite Muslims as the faith's third holiest in the world after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia."