"The first phase to restore al-Askariya shrine...is about to start. Preparations have been already made to start the work after the end of Ramadan," Haqi al-Hakim, an adviser on construction affairs to Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, said.

 

Al-Hakim said a Turkish company has been chosen to carry out reconstruction when Ramadan ends mid-October.

Bombings

The first attack on the mosque took place in February 2006 destroyed its golden dome.

 

A second attack a year later toppled the shrine's towering minarets.

Al-Hakim said the Turkish company has established offices in Samarra and has started evaluating the site.

"The first phase of the reconstruction could last ten months as the debris is removed, foundations checked for damage and historical and golden remnants salvaged and saved," said al-Hakim.

Al-Maliki met a delegation from the Turkish company on Saturday, according to al-Hakim.