Incident Summary:

08/29/2003: A car bomb detonated near the Tomb of Ali in Najaf, Iraq, killing more than 100 people and injured over 200 others. Among the dead was Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, a leader Shi ite cleric and the head of the Iran-backed Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI). Initial reports indicate that the perpetrators were linked to al Qaida and in 2007 Oras Muhammad Abdul-Aziz, a suspected member of al Qaida in Iraq confessed to his involvement in the bombing and was executed in Iraq.

GTD ID:
200308290001

When:
2003-08-29

Country:
Iraq

Region:
Middle East & North Africa

Province/administrative
region/u.s. state:

Najaf

City:
Najaf

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Bombing/Explosion
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Civilians
Specific Description Attendees at the weekly sermon at the Tomb of Ali
Nationality of Target Iraq
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity The Tomb of Ali
Specific Description The Tomb of Ali in Najaf, one of the Shi ite Islam's holiest shrines
Nationality of Target Iraq
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity The Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI)
Specific Description Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, Iraq's leading Shi ite politician and the spiritual head of the Iran-backed Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI)
Nationality of Target Iraq
Additional Information
Hostages No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives/Bombs/Dynamite Vehicle
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The explosives used in this attack were proved identical to those used in a blast at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003 (cf. 200308190001).
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Tawhid and Jihad No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 4
Number of Captured Perpetrators 4
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 100 Fatalities / 200 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 100
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 200
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Sources
“Two Iraqis, Two Saudis Arrested in Connection With Al-Najaf Blast,” Al-Sulaymeniyah KurdSat, August 30, 2003
“Four Arabs detained by Iraqi police confess to Najaf blast,” Paris AFP, August 30, 2003.
Peter Beaumont, Najaf and Edward Helmore, “Shrine attack linked to UN blast: Al-Qaeda arrests and identical explosives suggest bombings are part of larger strategy,” The Observer, August 31, 2003.