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Leaders appeal for calm after Iraq unrest -

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(generated from captions) Welcome to the program. at the latest from Iraq, And first tonight we'll be looking

and uncertainty tonight which is awash in fear following yesterday's bombing most revered Shi'ite shrines. of one of the country's In the intervening 24 hours, have been attacked some 50 Sunni mosques bullet-riddled bodies and a total of 47 have been recovered in Baghdad. have appealed for calm, The president and religious leaders demonstrations across Iraq but there have been mass this morning against Sunnis. and violent retaliatory attacks is on the brink of civil war. Many now believe Iraq In a moment I'll be joined chief correspondent Paul McGeough by the 'Sydney Morning Herald's for his analysis, Aneesh Raman but first CNN correspondent with the latest. joins us live from Baghdad

I spoke with him a few minutes ago

with the latest. There's been a

great deal of rage, panic and

reprisals since the bombing of the

al-Askari shrine. Any sense at all

that that's abating today? None yet. al-Askari shrine. Any sense at all

We know from Iraqi police that in

the past 24 hours at least 53

have been killed. That's in the the past 24 hours at least 53 Sunnis

capital alone, including three

Imams. We also understand that capital alone, including three Sunni

50 Sunni mosques again in the Imams. We also understand that some

capital alone have been attacked.

Five of them completely burned. In

Samarra we understand three

journalists who were working for a

television station were found dead

this morning. Four journalists

kidnapped yesterday, three of them this morning. Four journalists were

their bodies discovered, including

well-known journalist for Iraqis, their bodies discovered, including a

her 20 years who had worked well-known journalist for Iraqis, in

previously at Al-Jazeera. That

hit hard. Tensions remain previously at Al-Jazeera. That will

incredibly high. Security is on

high alert as well. All Iraqi

security force personnel currently

on leave and on vacation have been

told to report to duty. What is

sense of the capacity of Iraqi told to report to duty. What is your

security forces to deal with this?

Well, essentially it will be how

an issue this becomes on the Iraqi Well, essentially it will be how big

street. If there is a large-scale

Shi'ia violent response. If Mishas

as well as regular shia take up

arms, Iraq's security forces can do

little to contain that situation

given the sheer numbers. We saw

thousands upon thousands

demonstrating yesterday for the

majority of them it was peaceful. demonstrating yesterday for the vast

We also know those loyal to Moqtada

al-Sadr took up arms. What kind of

reaction are the Shi'ia going to

have in the days ahead? Iraqi

security forces can prepare as best

they can. It's a numbers issue.

They don't have the sheer numbers

personnel to secure all parts of They don't have the sheer numbers of

this country in advance of anything

that big. Ayatollah Sistani has

instrumental in helping to diffuse that big. Ayatollah Sistani has been

crises in the past, how do you

interpret his reactions in the past

24 hours? What part is he playing? interpret his reactions in the past

Well, I think he's playing sort of

both roles at the moment. He's

voice moderation, but called upon

people to protest. He is the Grand

Ayatollah ali al-Sistani, he had

appeared publicly for a year and a Ayatollah ali al-Sistani, he had not

half, but yesterday appeared on

television with senior Shi'ia

clerics. Again he called for a

period of mourning, he did call for

a protest, but said they should be

peaceful. All the Shi'ia leaders

you talk to, whether they be

political or certainly within the

religious alliances they are

starting to say that their patience

is wearing thin. The Shi'ia

community here has born the brunt

near daily attacks by the community here has born the brunt of

Sunni-dominated insurgery. Which

has been missing in terms of civil

war has been a large-scale Shi'ia

violent response. They have the

most to gain from stability in Iraq

because of their population, they

have the most power to gain within

the government, but that patience

really is wearing thin and the fear

is what happened yesterday could be

a tipping point. This they sigh

not a an attack on singular people, a tipping point. This they sigh was

but an attack on who they are,

entire Shi'ia faith. Aneesh Raman but an attack on who they are, their

thanks very much for bringing us