"We should not allow our feelings to dictate our actions. We have to be patient and pray," said Sheikh Maala al-Assadi, a Shia, and imam of the Zein al-Abidin mosque in the al-Huriya area where trouble broke out. 

A Shia mosque was sacked on Wednesday a day after a bomb killed four people at a nearby Sunni mosque. 

Assadi said ulemas (religious scholars) from both sides had met "to discuss the attacks which targeted places of worship as well as civilian homes." 

Religious meeting

They agreed to organise a broader meeting of religious figures
of the two communities. Sheikh Mahmud al-Issawi, of the Abd al-Kader al-Gailani mosque in the  Rassafa district, said: "The explosions are not acceptable and I don't think Iraqis could commit such a crime ... unless they were paid by foreign parties." 

He blamed Jews and Americans, saying: "They have Muslim blood on their hands from Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan." 

"They are part of a confessional scheme followed by those who carried out these two crimes," he said, urging police to find the attackers quickly.