Skip to main content

At least 14 killed in bombings, shootings in and near Baghdad

By Mohammed Tawfeeq and Joe Sterling, CNN
April 26, 2013 -- Updated 1818 GMT (0218 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Car bomb explodes outside popular Sadr City restaurant
  • NEW: More than 80 wounded Friday in several incidents across the area
  • Sunnis turn out en masse in Falluja
  • A U.N. representative says Iraq is "at a crossroads"

Baghdad (CNN) -- Bombs blew up at Sunni mosques in Iraq amid Friday prayers and at a restaurant in a Shiite area, the latest flurry of attacks in a country seething with sectarian tension.

At least 14 people were killed and more than 80 wounded in several incidents in and near Baghdad, the nation's capital, police and health officials said.

An explosive planted at the al-Qubeisi mosque in southwestern Baghdad killed four worshipers and wounded 46, police said.

In the capital's northeastern region, four people were injured when a bomb blew up outside the al-Razaq mosque, and six were hurt when a roadside bomb exploded near the Malek al-Ashqar mosque. South of Baghdad, five people were wounded by roadside bombs targeting mosques in Babel province.

Shootings left three people dead in central Baghdad, health officials said.

Hours later, at least seven people were killed and 21 others were wounded, police said, when a car bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in Baghdad's Sadr City, a predominantly Shiite district.

The uptick in violence has prompted fears among Iraqi leaders and international powers that the tensions between Sunnis and Shiites could escalate and bring a return of the full-blown sectarian war that raged last decade.

"The country is at a crossroads," said Martin Kobler, U.N. special representative in Iraq.

"It is the historical responsibility of all Iraqi leaders to assume leadership and take bold initiatives, such as sitting together and calling in one voice for immediate restoration of calm and for a broad-based national dialogue."

He echoed the concern of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who said Thursday that "everyone will lose if civil war breaks out."

Protesters: 'Down, down with al-Maliki'

Since December, tens of thousands of Sunni demonstrators have taken to the streets, demanding that the Shiite-led government stop what they call second-class treatment of Iraq's Sunni community.

Sunnis, who had a lot of clout during the Saddam Hussein era, became a disaffected minority after his overthrow last decade. Sunni discontent contributed to years of bloody insurgent and sectarian violence in the country, where Shiites -- who represent a majority -- now hold sway.

Sunni anger exploded this week over security force actions in the Kirkuk province city of Hawija this week that led to deaths. Kobler appealed to the Iraqi government to conduct a thorough investigation.

Over the past few days, more than 100 people have been killed and hundreds of others wounded in clashes between Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribes in northern Iraqi provinces, including Salaheddin, Nineveh and Kirkuk.

In one town, Sulaiman Pek, government officials and religious and tribal leaders forged a peace deal. Dozens were killed and wounded there in recent days.

Ali Hashim, a Salaheddin provincial council member, said Friday that tribal leaders ordered their people to lay down their arms and let soldiers enter the city.

A lot of the anger is focused on al-Maliki, who is Shiite.

Tens of thousands of Sunni protesters in Falluja, in the largely Sunni Anbar province, aired their ire at the government Friday.

They say the al-Maliki government is controlled by the Iranian government. Some called for al-Maliki's removal and burned down an Iranian flag with an image of its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and al-Maliki, a CNN stringer reported.

One imam at the demonstration said that if politicians don't topple the prime minister, people would have to take their fight to Baghdad. The imam, Ali al-Bassri, called on tribal leaders to start an army to defend Sunni demonstrators and demanded the withdrawal of government security forces from the province.

"God is great," protesters shouted. "Down, down with al-Maliki."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0946 GMT (1746 HKT)
It was supposed to be a class trip to a resort island. Instead, the ferry capsized, turning the afternoon into a deadly nightmare.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 2212 GMT (0612 HKT)
From giant zippers to buttock-shaped balloons, Jun Kitagawa's public art is whimsical, erotic and playful.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0843 GMT (1643 HKT)
Ukraine says it's forces have regained control of an airfield from Russian separatists. Nick Paton Walsh reports.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1702 GMT (0102 HKT)
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
Sky gazers caught a glimpse of the "blood moon" crossing the Earth's shadow Tuesday in all its splendor.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
Oscar Pistorius didn't consciously pull the trigger the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, the sprinter testified at his murder trial.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 2116 GMT (0516 HKT)
Officials are launching their next option: an underwater vehicle to scan the ocean floor.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
A mysterious new artwork has appeared in Cheltenham, where Britain's version of the NSA is located.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
Like many parents across Liverpool, the McManamans waited. 25 years ago, it was all they could do.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
The Maltese Falcon makes a swift turn while at sea.
How do you design a superyacht fit for the billionaire who has everything money can buy?
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Pop art condoms in Kenya
Packaging can change how people see things. And when it comes to sex, it could maybe help save lives too.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1542 GMT (2342 HKT)
mediterranean monk seal
Africa is home to much unique wildlife, but many of its iconic species are threatened.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
A staff stands next to the propellers of Sun-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 HB-SIB seen in silhouette during its first exit for test on April 14, 2014 in Payerne, a year ahead of their planned round-the-world flight. Solar Impulse 2 is the successor of the original plane of the same name, which last year completed a trip across the United States without using a drop of fuel. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
This solar-powered aircraft will attempt to circle the globe next year.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Most adults make the mistakes of hitting the snooze button and of checking emails first thing in the morning, writes Mel Robbins.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 0043 GMT (0843 HKT)
Ebola victims usually come from remote areas -- but now the lethal virus is in a city of two million.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT