Iraq: Mortar shells hit near gate of Shiite shrine

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BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say three mortars have landed near the gate of a much-revered Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra, wounding at least nine people.

The golden domed al-Askari mosque in Samarra is one of the holiest shrines in Shiite Islam. Sunni militants blew up the dome in 2006, helping trigger some of the country's worst sectarian bloodshed as Shiite extremists retaliated forcefully.

The deputy head of the Samarra municipal council Mizhar Fleih says the attack took place Monday evening and the shells struck a reception area near the gate. He says nine people were wounded.

Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed the attack and casualty figures.

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