Ahmadinejad: US, Israel attacked shrine

Says 'defeated Zionists and occupiers' intended to hit Shi'ites' emotions.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blamed the United States and Israel on Thursday for the blowing up of a Shi'ite shrine's golden dome in Iraq, saying it was the work of "defeated Zionists and occupiers." Speaking to a crowd of thousands on tour of southwestern Iran, the president referred to the destruction of the Askariya mosque dome in Samarra on Wednesday, which the Iraqi government has blamed on insurgents. "They invade the shrine and bomb there because they oppose God and justice," Ahmadinejad said, referring to the US-led multinational force in Iraq. "These passive activities are the acts of a group of defeated Zionists and occupiers who intended to hit our emotions," the president said in a speech that was broadcast on state television. Addressing the United States, he added: "You have to know that such an act will not save you from the anger of Muslim nations." The attack on the Askariya shrine - which contains the tombs of two revered Shiite imams descended from the Prophet Muhammad - was widely condemned in the Arab world on Wednesday. Jordan's King Abdullah II called it "heinous." Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said it was aimed at "splitting Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims." And Kuwait's new emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, said those who target holy places and kill innocent people "are as far as can be from the teachings of Islam." But some Islamic clerics and the Lebanese Hizbullah organization blamed the United States. "We cannot imagine that the Iraqi Sunnis did this," said the influential Sunni cleric Sheik Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian who lives in Qatar. "No one benefits from such acts other than the US occupation and the lurking Zionist enemy." Radical Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who cut short a visit to Lebanon to return to Iraq after the blast, said blame must be laid either with the Americans or the Iraqi government.