"All those people killed because of lies about a desecrated quran..."
IRAQI militants hollowed out an ornate Shiite Muslim holy book, stuffed it with TNT and planted it inside a Baghdad shrine, but the bomb was defused before it exploded, police said.
Iraqi police discovered the rigged book yesterday in the Khadimiya shrine, a major Shiite holy site in Baghdad, after worshippers heard a suspicious ringing sound from the mobile phone detonator inside the book, a richly decorated edition of a sacred Shiite text called the "Keys to Paradise".
After the bomb failed to go off, a scan of the book showed the bomb-filled cavity and experts came in to defuse it.
"It had about 500g of highly explosive material and contained hundreds of metal ball bearings in order to maximise casualties amongst pilgrims to the shrine," Major-General Jihad al-Jabiri, head of an Interior Ministry unit that investigates explosions, told state-run Iraqiya TV.
The Khadimiya shrine, a revered site for Shi'ite Muslims, has been a favourite target for Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda, who see Shi'ites as heretics, and by loyalists to the former regime of Sunni Arab ruler Saddam Hussein, who object to the fact that Iraq has been run by majority Shiites since his ouster.
In April, suicide bombers killed 60 people by the shrine.
US and Iraqi officials say al-Qaeda is trying to reignite the sectarian conflict that nearly tore the country asunder in 2006-07, but they have so far failed to provoke revenge killings.
In July, Iraq's first religious festival in Khadamiya since US troops pulled out of cities a month earlier was mostly peaceful, despite bloody attacks on the site in past years.
Police said the book was left in a corner of the shine reserved for women, suggesting the bomber was female.
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