The Bomb That Changed Iraq Forever

Dozens of bombs blew up in Iraq every day, hundreds of sirens went off, tearing through the silence of the nights and the noise of the days, torn body parts and corpses overlying the streets and pavements, fresh blood stains the faces and the walls. But nothing made as much difference as that one bomb that went off in Samarra, shattering a holy shrine and planting the first seeds of sectarian violence in Iraq.

It was February 23, 2006, the day after the bombing, when a female correspondent of The New York Times in Baghdad and a close friend decided to go to Sadr City to cover a demonstration by followers of Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric, against the bombing of the mosque.