Two bombs have exploded outside Sunni mosques in the Iraqi capital, killing at least 24 people and wounding 50 others, police and medics have said.
The first attack late on Saturday, near the gate of the Khalid bin al-Walid mosque in the capital’s southern Dora neighbourhood, occurred as people had gathered to pray after breaking their daily fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Soon after, a car bomb exploded at another Sunni worship centre, the Mullah Huwaish mosque, in the Hay al-Jamia area in western Baghdad. That blast killed five and wounded 19, according to police and health officials.
It was not clear who was behind Saturday’s explosions.
These are attacks on Sunni places of worship (Khalid b. al-Walid is held in poor standing by Shi’a), so the culprits could either be more radical Sunnis attacking moderates, or Shi’a groups retaliating for recent attacks against Shi’i worshipers. The fact that these attacks are happening in Ramadan is particularly troubling, both because Ramadan is supposed to be a time of truce and because anyone who attacks places of worship during this month means to maximize civilian casualties. Five Iraqi police officers were also killed in separate attacks.
Iraq Body Count has tallied 334 Iraqi civilian deaths so far this month (though I don’t think that figure has been updated for today’s deaths yet), which hasn’t even reached the halfway point.