28 Killed in Baghdad as Part of Rise in Sectarian Violence

Today two bombs detonated outside a mosque after Friday prayers just north of Baghdad. 28 people died and between 30-45 were injured at the Sunni mosque of Al-Salam in the village of Umm al-Adham outside Baqouba where both Sunni and Shia muslims had been praying.

4,000 people have been killed this year in “insurgent attacks”. This are the highest levels of violence since 2008 and some fear that the country is returning to the state of near-civil war it was in following the US led invasion in 2003.

Sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shia communities in Baghdad are not uncommon. Iraq has a majority Shia population (60%) but a sizeable Sunni minority (20%), with Kurds (who are also Sunni), Christians, Jews and others making up the remaining 20%. Saddam Hussein’s government was Sunni and he was known for the brutal oppression of Shia muslims. 

800 people have been killed this August alone and according to the BBC most of the attacks appear to be by Sunni militants with links of al-Qaeda.

Today’s attack is significant because Sunni and Shia muslims were praying together before they were attacked. It calls to mind the lynching of biracial couples in the pre-civil rights US south. 

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