WASHINGTON – President Bush urged restraint among rival religious factions in Iraq after the bombing Wednesday of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, and pledged American help to restore the revered Shiite shrine.
"The terrorists in Iraq have again proven that they are enemies of all faiths and of all humanity," the president said in a written statement. "The world must stand united against them, and steadfast behind the people of Iraq. This senseless crime is an affront to people of faith throughout the world. The United States condemns this cowardly act in the strongest possible terms."
Assailants wearing uniforms detonated two bombs inside the shrine, blowing the top off its landmark golden dome and spawning mass protests and reprisal attacks against dozens of Sunni mosques.
"I ask all Iraqis to exercise restraint in the wake of this tragedy, and to pursue justice in accordance with the laws and constitution of Iraq. Violence will only contribute to what the terrorists sought to achieve by this act," Bush said.
"The United States stands ready to do all in its power to assist the government of Iraq to identify and bring to justice those responsible for this terrible act," he said. "And the American people pledge to work with the people of Iraq to rebuild and restore the Golden Mosque of Samarra to its former glory."