Conflict & Justice

Iraq explosions kill dozens on deadliest day in months


Iraqis carry in Basra on May 17, 2013, the coffin of a Shi'ite fighter killed in neighbouring Syria fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces.



Violence continued to tear through Iraq on Friday, with twin explosions outside a mosque the low point on a day when 76 died across the country.

In Baquba northeast of the capital Baghdad, a first explosion near a Sunni Muslim mosque drew crowds before a second blast detonated and killed those rushing to help.

Local officials told Reuters that 43 people died.

“I was about 30 meters (90 feet) from the first explosion,” witness Hashim Munjiz told the news agency.

“When the first exploded, I ran to help them, and the second one went off. I saw bodies flying and I had shrapnel in my neck.”

The Associated Press also reported on a series of explosions that killed 21 near a Baghdad shopping center, four people at a commercial district in Dora and two outside a café in Fallujah.

By the AP’s total, 76 Iraqis died and dozens more were injured on Friday.

A roadside bomb killed eight others during a funeral procession south of Baghdad while a government official and a family member died in Kirkuk, Al Jazeera reported.

The BBC reported most victims at the funeral were there to pay their respects to a local mayor.

“The worrying factor in all of this is the nature of the attacks,” Al Jazeera correspondent Omar al-Saleh said online.

“You have attacks on Shia worshippers, you have attacks on Sunni worshippers so it appears that whoever is behind those attacks wants to ignite sectarian strife.”

Iraq neared civil war in 2006 after American troops withdrew, the AP said, and violence is again reaching those levels.

More than 130 have died in the last three days; today is the deadliest since early September, the AP reported.

The violence raises the specter of tit-for-tat killings common during the height of sectarian bloodletting in Iraq that killed tens of thousands of people, and comes at a time of simmering tension between the country's Sunni minority and Shiite majority, Agence France-Presse said.

With the latest attacks, more than 250 people have been killed in violence so far in May, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.

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