Bomb Blast Rocks Shrine City Of Karbala

Bomb Blast Rocks Shrine City of Karbala; 13 Injured

AFP is reporting that guerrillas left a bomb in a package in the center of the Shiite holy city of Karbala, near the shrine of Abbas, the brother of Imam Husayn. They detonated it around 10 pm Sunday night, injuring 13.

The largely Sunni Baath remnants have been extremely frustrated at the rise of Shiite power and have often targeted Shiite leaders and shrines. In addition to attempting to demoralize the Shiites, they may also hope to turn Shiite anger about such incidents toward the Coalition.

Karbala is under Polish command, and local troops are Bulgarians. The city was the site of a wave of mortar attacks Dec. 27 that killed 19 persons.

Given the political mobilization of Shiites by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, demanding free and fair elections, this sort of incident weakens the US hand. The Shiite leaders can say that present US arrangements do not even protect the holy shrines.

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