Breaking News: 78 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Shiite Mosque Attack
Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that suicide bombers detonated their bombs at the Shiite Buratha in the northwestern Baghdad just after Friday prayers ended but before the worshippers began exiting. KarbalaNews.net says that Iraqi security forces report that the bombers were mingling with the worshippers. It says that one bomber was inside the mosque with the men praying, while another was dressed in women’s clothing and detonated his payload outside the mosque among visitors.
KarbalaNews.net reported 78 dead, and 140 wounded, some of them badly. The mosque is affiliated with the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a major component of the United Iraqi Alliance, the largest single bloc in parliament. The preacher at this mosque, Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, is also a member of parliament, and it is presumed that he was a target of the attack, but it appears that he is unharmed.
KarbalaNews.net reports that a group of clerics in Najaf blamed the bombing on Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, insofar as he is the head of the armed forces, and on the American military (i.e. both should be preventing such attacks and aren’t). They called on Jaafari to resign and let someone more capable take up the candidacy for prime minister in the next government. The unsigned communique reprinted at the site represents itself as coming from a group of clergymen, but gives no names. Presumably these clerics are affiliated with the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which lost the internal UIA election by one vote. Its candidate, Adil Abdul Mahdi, has called on Jaafari to step down.
Buratha is over toward Karkh, and is an old mosque with value as an ancient monument among Iraqi antiquities.
Sunni Arab guerrillas continue to attack Shiite targets in hopes of provoking Sunni-Shiite civil war. They believe that the eruption of large-scale ethnic fighting will force the US out of the country and pave the way to a neo-Baath or Salafi coup. Shiites have largely refused to take the bait, but their patience is clearly wearing thin. After the Golden Shrine was blown up in Sammara in late February, angered Shiites attacked over 100 Sunni mosques, and mobs and death squads have probably killed well over 1,000 Sunnis in reprisals.