Suicide bomb attacks on mosques kills 22 worshippers in Iraq
A suicide car bomber first attacked the Al Zahraa mosque in the town of Balad Ruz as worshippers were leaving after the Friday sermon.
BAGHDAD — Militants carried out a series of suicide attacks on Friday against mosques in northeastern Iraq killing at least 22 worshippers, including a senior police officer, officials said.
In the town of Balad Ruz, a suicide car bomber attacked the Al Zahraa mosque as worshippers were leaving after the Friday sermon, a police officer said. A second suicide bomber on foot then attacked the crowds gathered in the aftermath. The twin attacks killed at least 18 and injured at least 41 people.
Among the dead were the leader of the town’s police commandos, Col. Adnan Mohammed Al Timimi, and two policemen, the official added.
Balad Ruz is located about 70 kilometers (44 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
A third suicide bomber drove his car into worshippers as they were leaving the Imam Hussein mosque in the town of Kanaan, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) northeast of the capital, the police officer added. Four people were killed and at least 18 wounded.
Two medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
The towns are located in Iraq’s religiously-mixed province of Diyala, which has witnessed major clashes between government forces and insurgents in recent months. The attacks came ahead of next week’s major event commemorating the death anniversary of revered 8th century saint Imam Mousa Al Kazim, when thousands of pilgrims march to his shrine in northern Baghdad.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but it bore the hallmarks of Daesh group. It has captured large chunks of territory in western and northern Iraq, plunging the country into its worst crisis since US troops left at the end of 2011.
Daesh and other extremists carry out near-daily attacks targeting Iraq’s security forces.
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