Blasts targeting Sunni worshippers near Baghdad leave scores dead and injured | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 17.05.2013
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Middle East

Blasts targeting Sunni worshippers near Baghdad leave scores dead and injured

A series of bombings near Baghdad has killed dozens of people. The attacks, which targeted a Sunni Mosque and funeral procession, come at a time of heightened sectarian violence in Iraq.

At least 43 people were killed and more than 50 injured Friday when a series of bomb blasts hit worshippers in Baqouba, north of the capital Baghdad.

One blast occurred as people were exiting a Sunni mosque while a second hit as people gathered around the scene of the initial explosion.

A third bombing, near a funeral procession for a Sunni man south of the capital in Madain, killed eight people and wounded at least 25, security and medical officials said.

Friday's attacks are the latest instances of sectarian violence in the country targeting Sunni and Shiite places of worship.

Heightened sectarian violence

On Thursday a suicide bomber killed 12 people near a Shiite place of worship in Kirkuk, while car bombs targeting Shiite areas of Baghdad killed 10. The brother of a Sunni parliamentarian was also shot dead in the capital and a further 21 people died in blasts occurring in mainly Shiite areas of Baghdad a day earlier.

Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said the violence was a result of a "sectarian mindset."

"The bloodshed … is a result of sectarian hatred," Al-Maliki said. "These crimes are a natural result of the sectarian mindset."

Tensions between Al-Maliki's Shiite government and Iraq's Sunni minority have escalated in recent months. Many members of the Sunni community accuse the government of discriminating against them with wrongful detention and accusations of terrorism.

Clashes between security forces and protesters near the town of Hawijah in Kirkuk province late last month killed 53 people, prompting dozens of deadly revenge attacks.

The UN said April was the deadliest month in Iraq since June 2008, with more than 700 people killed and 1,600 wounded.

dr/jm (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)