Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim one of Iraqs most important Muslim clerics was killed in a car bombing of a Shiite shrine in Iraq on Friday, August 29. Al-Hakim was the spiritual and top leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and had divided his time since the end of the war between Tehran and Najaf, the holiest Shiite Muslim city in Iraq.

β€œI saw al-Hakim walk out of the shrine after his sermon and moments later there was a massive explosion. There were many dead bodies,” said Abdul Amir Jassem, a 40-year-old merchant who was in the mosque. β€œHe was praying for Iraqi unity.”

"It is a blow to Iraq's unity," said Morad Veisi, Iranian plitical analyst.

Cars near the blast were left as twisted hunks of metal, and nearby shops were piles of smoldering rubble.

Mohammed was one of the key people for post-comflict Iraq. He spent 23 years in exile and was imprisioned and tortured as an oppositon leader by the opposing Ba'ath party.