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At least two dead in Iraq mosque attack

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A suicide bomber drives a bomb-laden vehicle into a Sunni mosque
  • The attack happens at the end of a birthday celebration for the Muslim prophet Mohammed

(CNN) -- At least two people died and six others were wounded Sunday when a suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden vehicle into a Sunni mosque at the conclusion of a birthday celebration for the Muslim prophet Mohammed, according to local police.

Police told CNN that the attack happened as worshippers were leaving the Mara al-Hayss mosque in Shirqat, a small town in the Nineveh provice about 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Baghdad.

The attack bears the hallmarks of al Qaeda, Shirqat police Capt. Mohammed al-Jabouri told CNN. Sunni extremists in general believe that any celebration of Mohammed's birthday is heresy, he said.

Mohammed al-Hayes, the leader of the Al-Jabour tribe in Shirqat, also believes that al Qaeda in Iraq was behind the attack.

Although violence in the region has dropped precipitously over the last two years, sporadic attacks do still occur.

On Thursday, unidentified gunmen shot and killed a freelance journalist near his home in Mosul. Hilal al-Ahmadi, 57, a freelance journalist for more than 30 years, was gunned down as he headed to work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.