Twenty nine people were killed today and a further 136 injured in mosques across Baghdad by six bombings aimed at Shi'ite Muslim worshippers, one month after US troops withdrew from Iraq's metropolitan areas.
The majority of the casualties occurred in Al-Shaab, a north-eastern district which saw a car bomb kill 23 and wound 107. The mosque was occupied by Iraqi Special Forces, but many worshippers were praying between the building and its car park, the interior ministry revealed this afternoon.
Three of the 23 killed were due to friendly fires from the Iraqi troops based there. Eye witnesses reported that after the bomb went off, the soldiers began firing randomly in panic. They also dismissed reports from locals who had raised suspicions over the Volkswagen Passat parked nearby prior to the explosion, telling those concerned that it was "safe". This mishandling of the situation further fuelled demands from locals that the authorities leave the area.
A bomb at Al-Rasoul Al-Adham mosque in Diyala Bridge, five miles south of Baghdad, left five dead and 15 wounded in the aftermath of their morning call to prayer. The final fatality occurred in Zafaraniyah, with six accompanying injuries, and the separate detonations in Kamaliyah and Al-Elam wounded four civilians each. This was the worst case of violence to occur within Iraq since the twin suicide bombings on July 9 in Tal Afar.
The predominantly Shi'ite targets indicate that the recent rise in terror attacks is Al-Qaeda coordinated. While attacks had recently declined, the buildup to the US withdrawal saw 437 Iraqi deaths in June alone, the worst figure for almost a year.