Twin suicide bombings kill 29 in Baghdad mosque

Sunni insurgents suspected of targeting Shia worshippers in al-Qahira district

Residents gather yesterday at a coffee shop that was destroyed in a suicide bomb attack in Baghdad. Five people were killed and 20 were wounded in the attack on Sunday night. Photograph: Saad Shalash/Reuters

Residents gather yesterday at a coffee shop that was destroyed in a suicide bomb attack in Baghdad. Five people were killed and 20 were wounded in the attack on Sunday night. Photograph: Saad Shalash/Reuters

 

Two co-ordinated suicide bombings at a Shia Muslim mosque in Baghdad killed at least 29 worshippers at noon prayers today.

The first bomber detonated his charge at a checkpoint about 100 metres away from the mosque in al-Qahira district of northern Baghdad. He was followed minutes later by a second who blew himself up inside the building.

“The (second) suicide bomber detonated himself among the worshippers, who were gathering after the call to prayer,” said policeman Furat Faleh, who was near the site of the blast.

More than 1,000 people were killed in militant attacks in Iraq in May, according to the United Nations, making it the deadliest month since the sectarian war of 2006-2007.

Ten years after the US-led invasion that toppled former president Saddam Hussein in 2003, a stable power-sharing compromise between Iraq’s Sunni, Shia and ethnic Kurdish factions remains elusive. Sectarian relations in

Iraq have come under strain from the conflict in neighbouring Syria, where mainly Sunni rebels are fighting to overthrow a leader backed by Shia Iran. Iraqi Sunnis and Shias have crossed into Syria to fight on opposing sides, heightening concerns they are bringing the the conflict back home, where both sects have been targeted by violence since the beginning of the year.

The wave of attacks has coincided with protests by Iraq’s Sunnis, who accuse the Shia-led government of marginalising their minority sect and being a stooge of Iran. Sunni Islamist insurgent groups appear to be feeding on Sunni discontent and gaining recruits.

It is not clear who exactly is behind the attacks but a number of Sunni Islamist insurgent groups operate in Iraq, including an affiliate of al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda’s local wing, Islamic State of Iraq, may spearhead the violence, but other Sunni armed groups are also resurgent, including the Naqshbandi army, an expanding network of Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath party members and ex-army officers.

Reuters