Iraqi Shia leader buried in Najaf

Al-Hakim's burial comes amid violence in Iraq's north that left 15 people dead.

    The funeral procession for al-Hakim  in Iraq started in Baghdad on Saturday amid violence  [EPA]

    "They see that the only way to achieve their victory is by creating sedition between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis," al-Hakim wrote.

    Mourning tour

    Saturday's ceremony and the arrival of the casket in Najaf marked the end of a three-day mourning tour that started in Iran and went on to Baghdad and other parts of Iraq's predominately Shia areas.

    In depth

      Obituary: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim
      Video: Rift appears among Iraq Shia

    Wailing crowds touched the Shia leader's coffin as it was carried through Baghdad amid tight security following an official ceremony on Friday.

    Al-Hakim was a power broker who helped pave the path for the re-emergence of Iraq's Shia political majority after decades of oppression under Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated government.

    Although he was seen as the Iraqi politician with the closest ties to Iran, where he lived in exile for 20 years, he also managed to build a rapport with the US.

    But his death has sparked fears of political instability ahead of national polls that many fear may be marred by violence.

    Bombing attacks

    His burial followed two bomb attacks in northern Iraq that killed at least 15 people and wounded more than 30 others.

    In one attack on Saturday, a suicide car bomber killed at least nine people and wounded 11 others at a police station in the town of Shirqat, 300km north of Baghdad, in Salahuddin province.

    The other bombing killed six people and wounded 20 others in the town of Sinjar, 390km northwest of Baghdad, which is home to Yazidis, members of a pre-Islamic Kurdish sect.

    A surge in violence in the past two months has raised doubts about the durability of security gains, including lorry bombings that killed almost 100 people at government ministries on August 19.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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