Suicide blast hits Baghdad Shi'ite mosque

2014-10-20 16:39
Iraqi fire-workers extinguish a blaze. (Khalil al-Murshidi, AFP)

Iraqi fire-workers extinguish a blaze. (Khalil al-Murshidi, AFP)

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Baghdad - A suicide bomber struck a Shi’ite mosque in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 17 worshippers and wounding dozens, Iraqi officials said.

The attack comes a day after a suicide bombing targeted another Shi’ite mosque in Baghdad, this one in the western Harithiya neighborhood, killing 28 people.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the two attacks but they bore the hallmarks of the al-Qaeda-breakaway Sunni militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has recently claimed several large bombings in the Iraqi capital, particularly in Shiite areas.

ISIS says it has a foothold inside Baghdad but Iraqi officials deny this, though they acknowledged the militants likely have sleeper cells in the city.

In Monday's attack, the bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest as people were leaving the al-Khairat mosque in Baghdad's Sinak commercial area following noon prayers, a police officer said. At least 28 people were wounded in the explosion, he said.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to media.

This summer, ISIS captured large chunks of territory in western and northern Iraq, plunging the country into its worst crisis since the US troops left at the end of 2011.

Since August, US warplanes have been carrying out airstrikes against the group as Iraqi and Kurdish security forces work to retake territory it has seized.

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  isis

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