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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 February 2006, 13:51 GMT
In pictures: Protests rock Iraq

Bomb aftermath

Clearing up has started a day after the massive explosion that destroyed the al-Askari shrine in Samarra, central Iraq.

Shia men work to shift debris in al-Askari shrine

Men worked with bare hands at the compound housing tombs of two descendants of the Prophet Muhammad that was attacked by unknown bombers on Wednesday.

Shia women perform ritual mourning in Baghdad

The attack on the revered shrine has brought Shias out into the streets making heartfelt demonstrations of anguish.

Radical Shia demonstrators in Sadr City, Baghdad

Some demonstrations have turned into angry riots, calling for revenge against enemies ranging from America and Israel to Sunni Iraqis.

Iraqi children look from a bullet-riddled window of Abu Ayoub al-Ansari mosque in the city of Baquba

Sunni mosques have been targeted by Shia gunmen causing damage and deaths, a worrying sign of sectarian conflict that could spiral out of control.

Guards at Abdul Qadir al-Gilani mosque in central Baghdad

Military guards have been put around some Sunni mosques - such as Abdul Qadir al-Gilani mosque in central Baghdad.

Radical Shia demonstration in Baghdad

Tension is high and the threat of more violence ever-present, leaving many Iraqis wondering if a step has been taken towards civil war.

Demonstrators prevent an official convoy reaching the Samarra shrine

In Samarra, furious demonstrators prevented Housing Minister Jassem Muhammad from visiting the damaged shrine.

Police convoy being stoned in Samarra

Tensions boiled over and the incensed Shia crowds attacked the housing minister's police escort in the streets of Samarra





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