Iraqis out in force for Hakim funeral
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Last Updated: Saturday, August 29, 2009, 17:27
  
Najaf: Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Najaf today for the funeral of powerful Shiite politician Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, as his body arrived in the southern shrine city.

Hakim's coffin, draped in an Iraqi flag, was earlier paraded in the nearby holy Shiite city of Karbala, where crowds also gathered ahead of a funeral ceremony expected to take place in Najaf around 3.00 pm (1730 IST).

Hakim, 60, who died in a Tehran hospital on Wednesday after a 28-month battle against lung cancer, was hailed as "leader of the fight" against the tyrannical reign of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, when his body arrived home yesterday.

The former head of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), Iraq's largest Shiite political party, was one of the principal leaders in exile of the opposition to Saddam, who waged a devastating 1980-88 war against Iran.

In 1982, Hakim helped to establish an opposition movement in Iran against Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime and only returned to Iraq following the US-led invasion of 2003.

A scion of one of the traditional leading families among Iraq's Shiite majority, Hakim took over the leadership of his party in August 2003 after his brother Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim was assassinated in Najaf.

Their father, Grand Ayatollah Mohsen al-Hakim, was one of Shiite Islam's top spiritual leaders between 1955 and 1970.

Bureau Report


First Published: Saturday, August 29, 2009, 17:27


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