The unique ninth-century spiral minaret of the Al-Mutawakkli mosque in Samarra was damaged when a bomb exploded at its summit on 1 April. Witnesses report seeing two men climb the unguarded 172-foot tower in the early hours of the morning. The attack on the building may have been an attempt to prevent the return of US troops who used the minaret as a sniper position and observation post until their withdrawal on 17 March at the request of the municipality of Samarra. Once the US troops had left, the mosque complex was reopened to Iraqi visitors.
We reported in March how the minaret had sustained damage from insurgents firing on US troops at its summit. Speaking to The Art Newspaper, Coalition spokesman Major Richard Goldenberg said that now that US troops have vacated the minaret, the protection of the site is the responsibility of the Iraqi Security Forces while restoration is the responsibility of the municipality of Samarra.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Spiral minaret damaged'