BAGHDAD, March 3 (UPI) -- The general in charge of U.S. forces in Iraq said "it appears the crisis has passed" in the wake of a mosque bombing that set off Islamic sectarian violence.
U.S. Army Gen. George W. Casey, appearing in a teleconference from Baghdad, warned fighting could flare but said Iraqi forces had performed "generally" well in trying to quell the violence.
The Golden Mosque in Samarra, an important Shiite shrine, was bombed Feb. 22, setting off fighting between Sunni and Shiite sects. Casey said some 350 civilians died in the subsequent fighting.
The Washington Post has reported that more than 1,300 have died in the fighting.
U.S. officials said the bombing was carried out expressly to set off a civil war.
"Now, it appears that the crisis has passed, but we all should be clear that Iraqis remain under threat of terrorist attack by those who will stop at nothing to undermine the formation of this constitutionally elected government, a government of national unity and a government that represents all Iraqis," Casey said.
"There is still a terrorist threat here that is working to foment continued sectarian violence," said Casey. "I think they tried ... to have this (be) the straw that broke the camel's back, and it failed."