Iraq: 21 dead as bomb blasts strike Sunni mosques in Baghdad.
14 Jul 2013 :: Bombs have exploded outside two Sunni mosques in Baghda, killing at least 21 people leaving prayers and extending a wave of daily violence rippling across Iraq since the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
A separate attack at a funeral northeast of the capital killed at least three others.
Police said the first Baghdad blast went off around 10pm near the gate of the Khalid bin al-Walid mosque in the capital's southern Dora neighbourhood, a largely Sunni Muslim area. It struck just after the end of special late-evening prayers held during Ramadan.
At least 16 people were killed and 31 were wounded, police said. A hospital official confirmed the casualty toll.
Soon after, a car bomb exploded at another Sunni worship center, the Mullah Huwaish mosque, in the Hay al-Jami'a area in western Baghdad. That blast killed five and wounded 19, according to police and health officials.
Iraq is weathering its worst eruption of violence in half a decade, raising fears the country is heading back toward the widespread sectarian fighting that peaked in 2006 and 2007. More than 2,600 people have been killed since the start of April.
Sunni extremists, including al-Qaeda's Iraq branch, frequently target Shias, security forces and civil servants in an effort to undermine the Shia-led government in Baghdad. They also could be behind Saturday's attack on the Sunni mosques, hoping that the bombings will spark a sectarian backlash against Shias.
Shia militias, which have been remobilizing and sending fighters to confront mostly Sunni rebels in neighboring Syria, also could be to blame.
Once-rare attacks on Sunni places of worship have risen in recent months as sectarian tensions grow, raising the prospect that Shia militias are growing more active.
Iraq's minority Sunnis have been protesting for months against the Shia-led government, alleging they receive second-class treatment. Sunni militant groups have tried to tap into that anger by linking their cause to that of the demonstrators.
In another attack Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral in the town of al-Abbara, near the city of Baqouba, which is about 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad. Police and hospital officials said that attack killed three and wounded 10.(Courtesy:The Telegraph)