Security forces in Iraq are enforcing a strict curfew around Baghdad and in several provinces. At least 130 people have died as a result of inter community violence between Sunni and Shia muslims following the blowing-up of the Golden Mosque at Samara.
Demonstrations planned for today have been banned. Iraqi religious authorities said at least 160 mosques have been damaged and several imams have been murdered. However, troop commanders said only seven mosques had been verified as destroyed. The government, led by President Jalal Talabani, convened a meeting of the country’s religious loaders. He said it was a sacred duty to extinguish the flames of conflict. US President George W Bush said the bombing had been designed to create civil strife.
It remains to be seen whether militias and Iraqi soldiers will obey the government and enforce the curfew. US led coalition forces in Iraq are on maximum alert. The military command played down the level of violence and denied there were signs of a civil war.