News / Middle East

Iranian Pilot Killed in Iraq Defending Shrine

In this undated photo posted on a militant website that frequently carries official statements from the Islamic State extremist group, smoke and debris go up in the air as Shiite's Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque explodes in Mosul.
In this undated photo posted on a militant website that frequently carries official statements from the Islamic State extremist group, smoke and debris go up in the air as Shiite's Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque explodes in Mosul.
VOA News

An Iranian pilot was killed defending Shi'ite Muslim holy sites in neighboring Iraq, Iran's state news agency said, in the first official report of an Iranian death related to an upsurge in violence there since June.

Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani, who was buried in the Iranian city of Shiraz on Friday, was killed while fighting Sunni jihadists in Samarra, north of Baghdad, it said.

Iran's official IRNA news agency did not say whether the pilot died while flying sorties or fighting on the ground, or whether he was in Samarra of his own initiative or on behalf of the Iranian state.

Iraq's Shi'ite-led government is fighting an insurgency by Sunni rebels led by an al-Qaida splinter group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), who consider Shi'ites heretics.

Shi'ite power Iran has said it will not hesitate to defend Shi'ite holy sites in Iraq if necessary, but it has also said Iraq itself is capable of putting down the rebellion.

Rebels' gains

ISIL has seized territory across the north and west of Iraq, as well as border posts, oil fields, and the north's largest city, Mosul, since June 10.

Shi'ite militias have also joined the fray on the Baghdad government's side against the militants.

Followers of the Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have formed an army under the name of the al-Salam (Peace) brigades to defend Shi'ite holy shrines. 

The Shi'ite al-Salam brigades have been stationed in Samarra since ISIL captured large swathes of territory in the north of country.

Kadhim al-Isawi, commander of the al-Salam brigades, said that his militia were deployed along with other government troops to defend the holy shrine of al-Askari.

The golden-domed al-Askari mosque in Samarra is one of the holiest shrines in Shiite Islam.

A 2006 bombing at the same site exacerbated already severe sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shi'ites, fueling a war that killed tens of thousands of people over the next two years.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in violence across Iraq this year, as its sectarian balance comes under acute strain from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

The reports of the pilot's death came as Iranian officials insist their assistance is not in the form of troops, but rather of weapons and equipment if Iraq asks for them.

The militants' advances and their boasts of animosity toward Shi'ism - a branch of Islam overwhelmingly practiced in Iran - have raised alarm in Tehran.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Abram from: Washington
July 06, 2014 11:33 PM
It seems that now is the time for Muslims to start emphasizing peace in their teachings. Any religion can do, and a number has done, this as history tells us.


by: Nwaonyenze from: Owerri
July 06, 2014 3:04 PM
Why is Islam a virus to the world's peace?
Did somebody hear me?


by: ayatollah from: Texas
July 06, 2014 2:15 PM
The Iranian regime, and most Iranians are likely going to be quite ready to kill Sunni Muslims tit for tat. As are the Sunnis, Shias.
Add in multiple Muslim governments, groups and sects and the result is what we see in the Middle East….chaos.
Keeping a lid in passions lit off by violence in a region largely uneducated in anything other than religious dogma is going to result in exactly what we're seeing,,,,,,,chaos.
It is only going to expand, into Saudi out of Yemen, into Jordan out of Syria, into Lebanon out of Gaza and Syria, etc. The best strategy for those on the periphery of this, keep your powder dry and keep them out of yor country if you can. Its only going to continue.


by: Ali baba from: new york
July 06, 2014 12:58 PM
Eventually ISIS will be defeated . They find out that every body is fighting them until they get weaker .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid