Seven Sunni worshippers killed in Baghdad bomb attacks: police

BAGHDAD Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:57am EDT

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Bombs planted at the entrance to two mosques in predominantly Sunni districts of the Iraqi capital killed at least seven worshippers as they left Friday prayers, police and medical sources said.

The deadliest explosion took place in the mainly Sunni district of Doura in southern Baghdad, where at least five worshippers were killed and a further 16 wounded, police said. Two others died in a blast in the northwestern al-Jihad neighborhood.

It was not immediately clear who had carried out the attacks, which appeared to be coordinated, but both Sunnis and Shi'ites have repeatedly been targeted in their places of worship, particularly on Fridays, the Muslim day of prayer.

Sunni Islamist militants including al Qaeda have been regaining momentum and attacking on daily basis this year, aiming to undermine the Shi'ite-led government and trigger wide sectarian confrontation.

Several other attacks in recent weeks also suggest that Shi'ite militias, which have so far largely refrained from retaliating, may once again be resorting to violence.

In a separate incident, a roadside bomb blew up near a restaurant in the Shi'ite Hurriya district of northwestern Baghdad, killing at least one civilian and wounding a further five, police said.

More than two years of civil war in neighboring Syria have brought sectarian tensions to the boil in Iraq and the wider region.

The U.N. mission in Iraq said about 800 Iraqis were killed in August, with more than a third of the deadly attacks happening in Baghdad.

The bloodshed, 18 months after U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq, has stirred concerns about a return to the sectarian slaughter of 2006-7, when the monthly death toll sometimes topped 3,000.

(Reporting by Kareem Raheem, writing by Suadad al-Salhy; Editing by Isabel Coles and Alison Williams)

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