SAMARRA, Iraq— The mosque at the heart of this ancient city, once a bombed-out epitaph for Iraq’s spiral into civil war, is now heralded as a symbol of its painstaking recovery.
Five years after an insurgent bombing partly destroyed the shrine and spawned waves of sectarian killings, its rebuilt concrete dome again hangs like a low moon over the city. Two new minarets are wrapped in a bird’s nest of scaffolding. And with violence down sharply here and across the country, throngs of pilgrims again pray at Samarra’s Askariya Shrine, one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam.
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