Exactly what happened on Sunday night is in dispute, but in a political sense it no longer matters. Tension between the Americans and Shia leaders had been rising for weeks, since Washington started pushing for Mr Jabr’s replacement as police minister and went on to oppose Mr Jaafari remaining as prime minister.

The Americans insisted yesterday that they had raided the complex after receiving intelligence that it was being used to hold hostages, store weapons and harbour insurgents. “In our observation of the place and the activities that were going on, it’s difficult for us to consider this a place of prayer,” said Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesman. “It was not identified by us as a mosque… I think this is a matter of perception.” A brief US communique in the first hours after the incident said “no mosques were entered or damaged”. ~The Guardian

Via Antiwar