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  Updated: August 29, 2009

Al-Hakim buried as tens of thousands pay respects

By: Ismail Zabeeh

HOLY NAJAF, Iraq: Revered Iraqi Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, son of grand Marje Sayed Mohsin Al-Hakim (late), was buried beside his brother amid frenzied scenes in holy city of Najaf on Saturday August 29, following his death from lung cancer three days ago.

His brother Ayatullah Sayed Baqer Al-Hakim, martyred in bombing outside the holy Haidari shrine, was buried on the same date and month some years back.

Al-Hakim's eldest son, Ammar al-Hakim, read to a crowd of tens of thousands of mourners Saturday what he said was his father's will.

In it, he said, his father asked Iraqis to unite, to preserve the constitution and to take part in elections, which he described as "a religious and national duty."

The reading and burial procession from the crowded narrow streets of the holy city of Najaf was broadcast on al-Forat TV, the television station of the elder al-Hakim's political party, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.

Attendees looking to pay their final respects watched as the flag-draped coffin with the leader's family turban atop it was paraded through his birthplace.

Crowds of mourners pushed to get close enough to touch the casket. As the casket was carried out of the vehicle, security forces had to push back dozens of mourners who were sobbing as they tried to touch the coffin and carry it.

Al-Hakim, who was born in 1950, died Wednesday in Tehran, Iran.  

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