Skip to main content

Blast during sermon in Iraq mosque kills at least 18

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Sunni lawmaker: Sunni families have recently fled the area because of Shiite militias
  • The bomb was hidden under a podium from which an imam was speaking, police say
  • The mosque is in a Sunni village in northeastern Iraq, near a largely Shiite district
  • There has been a recent uptick in violence, much of it stemming from Sunni-Shiite discord

(CNN) -- A bomb hidden in a Sunni mosque exploded while worshipers listened to a sermon Friday in northeastern Iraq, killing at least 18 people and injuring 56, police and health officials said.

The bomb had been hidden under a podium from which an imam was speaking in the mosque, located in al-Wajihiya in the largely Sunni province of Diyala, said police officials in the nearby provincial capital of Baquba.

Al-Wajihiya is a small Sunni village close to Muqdadiya, a largely Shiite district. It is about 25 kilometers northeast of Baquba, which itself is about 60 kilometers north-northeast of Baghdad.

Over the past few weeks, many Sunni families fled from their houses in small villages close to Muqdadiya because of ongoing threats by Shiite militias, according to a Sunni lawmaker who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

The bloodshed comes amid a recent uptick in violence, much of it stemming from discord between Sunnis and Shiites.

Sunni Arabs had more political clout in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule, before his government was deposed in 2003 by the U.S.-led invasion.

Sunnis have long felt politically marginalized under a Shiite-led government in the post-Saddam era.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 12, 2014 -- Updated 0008 GMT (0808 HKT)
Tichleman 1
A makeup artist, writer and model who loves monkeys and struggles with demons.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Lionel Messi's ability is not in question -- but will the World Cup final allow him to emerge from another footballing legend's shadow?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
Why are Iraqi politicians dragging their feet while ISIS militants fortify their foothold across the country?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
An elephant, who was chained for 50 years, cries tears of joy after being freed in India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0732 GMT (1532 HKT)
Beneath a dusty town in northeastern Pakistan, CNN explores a cold labyrinth of hidden tunnels that was once a safe haven for militants.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 2249 GMT (0649 HKT)
CNN's Ravi Agrawal asks whether Narendra Modi can harness the country's potential to finally deliver growth.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 0444 GMT (1244 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wedeman visits the Yazji family and finds out what it's like living life in the middle of conflict.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
People walk with their luggage at the Maiquetia international airport that serves Caracas on July 3, 2014. A survey by pollster Datanalisis revealed that 25% of the population surveyed (end of May) has at least one family member or friend who has emigrated from the country. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane passengers are used to paying additional fees, but one airport in Venezuela is now charging for the ultimate hidden extra -- air.
ADVERTISEMENT