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
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0356 GMT (1156 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT