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Bush Condemns Iraqi Mosque Bombing


President Bush is appealing for calm in Iraq following the bombing of one of the country's most sacred Shi'ite shrines. The attack set off a wave of sectarian reprisals.

On behalf of the American people, White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says the president expressed his deepest condolences for the destruction of a 100-year-old golden dome at a shrine in Samarra.

"The terrorists in Iraq have again proven that they are enemies of all faiths and of all humanity," said Scott McClellan. "The world must stand united against them and steadfast behind the people of Iraq. This senseless crime is an affront to people of faith throughout the world."

Mr. McClellan says the president condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms.

Shi'ite Muslims took to the streets of Samarra, Baghdad, and other towns to protest the bombing, attacking dozens of Sunni mosques in what western diplomats fear could be the start of deeper sectarian violence.

Reading from a presidential statement, McClellan said Mr. Bush is calling for a measured response to the bombing.

"I ask all Iraqis to exercise restraint in the wake of this tragedy and to pursue justice in accordance with the laws and constitution of Iraq," he quoted. "Violence will only contribute to what the terrorists sought to achieve by this act."

McClellan says the United States will do everything it can to help find those responsible and Americans will work with Iraqis to restore the mosque to its former glory.