Iraqi leaders pay tribute to revered Shiite leader in Baghdad
www.chinaview.cn 2009-08-28 19:05:19   Print

    BAGHDAD, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi top leaders and dozens of senior religious figures gathered at Baghdad airport on Friday to pay tribute to the revered Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim as his body arrived in the morning from the neighboring Iran where he died of lung cancer.

A man mourns the revered Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim in front of his photo in Baghdad on Friday.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    Hakim's body arrived at the airport at about 9:20 (0620 GMT) and his casket was brought later to a ceremony site at the airport where President Jalal Talbani and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other top officials and world diplomats were gathered to mark the funeral.

    Hakim, the head of one of Iraq's most powerful Shiite parties, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), died in a Tehran hospital on Wednesday.

    He was diagnosed with lung cancer in May 2007 in the United States, but he preferred to receive treatment in Iran.

    "We lose you in a delicate and sensitive period, when we are in need of a strong and experienced man," Maliki said in the televised ceremony at Baghdad International Airport.

Tens of thousands of people gathered at Baghdad airport on Friday to pay tribute to the revered Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim as his body arrived in the morning from the neighboring Iran where he died of lung cancer.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    Iraqi security forces tightened security measures in Baghdad and closed all the roads linking the airport to the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses many of the Iraqi government offices.

    The procession of Hakim's body will head later in the day to the Shiite shrine of Imam Kadhum in Baghdad's northern district of Kadhmiyah.

    Hakim's body will be buried on Saturday at the Shiite cemetery of Najaf after being taken to the holy shrines in Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad.

    Hakim is a prominent Shiite theologian and politician, who headed the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), the largest political party in the Iraqi parliament.

People at Baghdad airport on Friday pay tribute to the revered Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim as his body arrived in the morning from the neighboring Iran where he died of lung cancer.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    After the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, Hakim became a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and served as its rotating presidency in December 2003.

    In August 2003, he replaced his brother Mohammed Baqir al-Hakimas the leader of the SIIC Shiite party, then named the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq after Mohammed Baqir was assassinated in Najaf.

Editor: Li
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