British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday condemned the bombing of one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines and pledged funds toward its reconstruction.
In a strongly worded statement, Blair said the perpetrators of the attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra were trying to derail democracy in Iraq and he pleaded for calm.
"People must not fall into the trap being set for them," Blair said. "It is vital that all groups in Iraq show restraint in the face of this blatant provocation. Retaliation will only give the terrorists what they want."
"The perpetrators of this act had one motive and one alone," Blair said. "They want to cause strife and violence between Sunni and Shia to derail democracy currently taking hold in Iraq."
Blair said foreign secretary Jack Straw would be discussing how to rebuild the landmark shrine with Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari.