Dozens die in blast at Iraqi mosque
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 9:54 p.m.
BAGHDAD — Two suicide bombers targeted a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday, one blowing himself up at a nearby checkpoint while the other slipped inside during prayers. The blasts killed 34 people, Iraqi officials said.
The coordinated bombings were the latest in a string of attacks to hit Iraq, reviving fears the country is headed back toward the widespread sectarian bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
Two police officers said the first bomber detonated his explosives at a security checkpoint near the mosque in Baghdad's northern Qahira neighborhood in an apparent attempt to distract the authorities. The area is a middle-class, Shiite-majority neighborhood.
Amid the commotion, a second bomber slipped past concrete blast walls and into the mosque, where he blew himself up while worshippers were reciting midday prayers, according to police officials. The bombings wounded 57 people, the officials said.
Most of the casualties were students from the nearby Imam al-Sadiq University for Islamic Studies. Police officials said the university's Shiite students usually perform their midday prayers in the mosque that was hit.
After the blasts, security forces quickly sealed off the area around the simple, unadorned mosque.
Ali Faleh, a university student, said he was inside a stationery shop nearby when he heard a thunderous explosion.
“Everybody ran to the blast site, and I saw the body of a colleague who used to be in my class,” he said. “The aim of today's attack was only to hurt the Shiites who were there to study or pray, not to fight or kill anybody else.”
A medic in a nearby hospital confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media.
Violence has surged in Iraq in recent months, along with sectarian and political tensions.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings and attacks against Shiite worshippers are frequently the work of al-Qaida's Iraq arm. Sunni extremists such as al-Qaida consider Shiites to be heretics and want to undermine Iraq's Shiite-led government.
Tuesday's bombings follow a string of attacks on Sunni mosques that killed more than 100 worshippers between mid-April and May.
The bloodshed roiling Iraq has risen to levels not seen since 2008. Nearly 2,000 have been killed since the start of April, including more than 220 this month.
On Sunday, a wave of apparently coordinated bombings and a shooting killed at least 51 people. Fifteen people were killed in bomb attacks on Monday, including one caused by a suicide bomber who set off his explosives-laden belt among a group of policemen in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. troops hurt in aborted rescue in South Sudan
- Iraqi commander, 17 others slain in attack
- Charges mount against Morsy
- Putin’s political foe reunited in Berlin with ‘thrilled’ family
- Pontiff exhorts Vatican clerics
- Syrian opposition captures strategic hospital in Aleppo
- Pope Francis hears from children in hospital wishing for better health
- Defense Secretary Hagel calls China’s actions ‘irresponsible’
- Kerry pledges $17 million in aid to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta
- Israeli shot dead near border with Lebanon
- Wave of attacks kill 70 people in Iraq