Skip to comments.Sources in Qom Hint at an Iranian Role in the Assassination Attempt Against Al-Hakim
Posted on 08/27/2003 11:36:24 AM PDT by ganeshpuri89
[FBIS Translated Text]
The assassination attempt against prominent Shiite cleric Ayatollah Muhammad Sa'id al-Hakim in the Iraqi city of Al-Najaf two days ago triggered a wave of fear and anxiety from Al-Najaf's Hawzah [the Shiite seminary] to the Hawzah of the Iranian city of Qom. A number of senior clergymen were preparing to leave Qom to Al-Najaf to flee the recent constant harassment by the Religious Court and the Revolutionary Guard.
In a telephone interview with "Al-Sharq al-Awsat" the son of a prominent clergyman in Qom said his father "was preparing to travel to Al-Najaf in mid-September after it became very difficult for him to exercise his role as a religious authority and teacher in the Hawzah in Qom," as he put it. The source added, "it became difficult to assume if my father or other religious authorities could travel following the lamentable events, which Al-Najaf has witnessed since the killing of Hojatolislam Abd-al-Majid al-Khu'i and the recent assassination attempt against Ayatollah Al-Hakim."
The source and other sources did not rule out the involvement of elements of the Iranian intelligence or the Revolutionary Guard and "Faylaq al-Quds" [Jerusalem Brigade] in the recent assassination attempt without the knowledge of the Iranian Government." These sources said they believed the relocation of Iranian Shiite clergymen to Al-Najaf including Husayn Khomeini -- the grandchild of the leader of the Islamic Revolution who is now in Baghdad -- embarrasses the ruling elite in Iran and bolsters the status of the Hawzah of Al-Najaf to the detriment of Tehran.
"Al-Sharq al-Awsat" learned that an attempt to kill Husayn Khomeini was discovered following the arrest of elements linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iraq. Knowledgeable sources said the fact that the US forces were holding Sa'id Abu-Talib and Suhayl Karimi -- the two Iranian television correspondents -- in custody in Iraq was attributed to information leaked about their affiliation with the squad that was commissioned to kill Husayn Khomeini.
Another source that visited the site of the attack on Ayatollah Muhammad Sa'id al-Hakim in Al-Najaf said the attempt holds the fingerprints of trained assassins. The source said, "there must be a link between what happened in Baghdad -- the bombing of the UN headquarters --, the premeditated attack on the British forces in Al-Basrah that killed three soldiers, and Al-Najaf incident." He said he believed there were specific objectives behind these incidents.
[Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy]