UNESCO Lists Samarra as World Heritage Site

UNESCO Lists Samarra as World Heritage Site

The central Iraqi Sunni city of Samarra, which houses a revered Shiite mosque that was bombed by Al-Qaeda, has been selected as a world heritage site, the government said on Tuesday.

"The Universal Heritage Committee of UNESCO has agreed to add the city of Samarra to its list of world heritage sites," a statement said.

North of Baghdad in the Sunni province of Salaheddin, Samarra gained prominence after the Shiite Al-Askari shrine there was bombed on February 22, 2006, by Al-Qaeda fighters.

Saddam drained the marshlands after the end of the first Gulf War to punish Iraq's Shiite majority for an uprising.

Iraq's Tourism and Archaeology Ministry on Tuesday welcomed UNESCO's announcement concerning Samarra.

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