A general view of Samarra, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
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Sunlight once again glints off the golden dome of one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, almost fully restored 10 years after suspected Al-Qaeda militants blew it up in northern Iraq. But as Shiite influence grows in Samarra, shops and homes around Al-Askari shrine owned by residents of the mainly Sunni city have been shut, amid fears of forced displacement and splintering of the area along sectarian lines.Sunnis point to violence like last month's attacks in eastern Diyala province as proof they are still not safe more than a decade after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, a Sunni from north of Samarra.A member of Salahuddin Operations Command, overseeing the province's security, said measures imposed after the 2006 attack were tightened after two suicide bombers detonated explosives near the shrine in mid-2014 amid Daesh's advance.Hussein Sharifi, a former lawmaker from southern Iraq now fighting with the Peace Brigades, said there were attacks and casualties daily at the front line 30 kilometers west of Samarra.
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