Deadly twin bombings outside Iraq mosque

At least 14 people killed and 40 others injured as bombs targeted worshippers leaving prayers in Diyala province.

    A pair of bombs struck in quick succession outside a Sunni mosque north of Baghdad, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 40 others.

    The attacks on Friday in the town of Kanaan, about 75km northeast of the capital, are likely to increase fears of further violence ahead of provincial elections in much of the country scheduled for next week.

    Friday's blasts struck as worshippers were leaving after midday prayers from the town's Omar Bin Abdul-Aziz mosque, said police officials in Diyala province, where Kanaan is located.

    A hospital official confirmed the casualty figures.

    The nearby city of Baquba was the site of a large bombing just last week.

    In that incident, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a lunch hosted by a Sunni candidate in the upcoming provincial elections, killing 20 people.

    Minutes after the Kanaan attack, a bomb exploded near a Shia mosque in western Baghdad, wounding eight, according to police and hospital officials.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday's attacks.

    Al-Qaeda's Iraqi branch, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, frequently carries out coordinated bombings targeting civilian targets such as mosques, markets and restaurants.

    It primarily targets Shias, whom it considers heretics, as well as security forces and other officials tied to Iraq's Shia-led government.

    The group has in the past also struck Sunni targets in an attempt to reignite the sectarian fighting that pushed the country to the brink of civil war in the years following the fall of Baghdad, a decade ago this week.

    Iraqi officials believe al-Qaeda is growing stronger in Iraq, fuelled in part by rising lawlessness on the Syria-Iraq frontier and what they say is cross-border cooperation with the Syrian militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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