Suicide Attacker Hits Jam Packed Iraq Mosque

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BAGHDAD — Extremist rebels let loose another day of terror in Iraq Saturday by launching suicide attacks and bombings against Muslim worshipers in mosques and ordinary citizens in busy market places. 

 A suicide bombing inside a Shia mosque during evening prayers and other attacks north of Baghdad killed 23 people in Iraq on Saturday, as officials announced preliminary results for local elections in two provinces that showed the bloc of the country’s speaker of parliament in the lead.

The attacks are the latest in a wave of killing that has claimed more than 2,000 lives since the start of April. It is the bloodiest and most sustained spate of violence to hit Iraq since 2008.

The deadliest attack happened after sunset when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque packed with worshipers in the village of Sabaa al-Bour, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad. It killed 14 and wounded 32, police said.

Sabaa al-Bour, home to both Sunni and Shia Muslims however  remained calm after the brutal massacre.

Many large Shia religious sites in Iraqi cities are surrounded by concrete blast walls and armed checkpoints, but police said the village mosque had no protective barriers.

At least five of the victims died in ambulances as they made their way from the remote village to the nearest hospital in Baghdad, police said.

Earlier, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police patrol in al-Athba village near the restive northern city of Mosul, a police officer said. Three civilian bystanders and one policeman were killed, and six other people were wounded.

Buoyed by the diplomatic and military support to rebels in nearby Syria Al-Qaida elements in Iraq has been gathering strength in and around Mosul, some 360 kilometers (220 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

In the city of Tuz Khormato, 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of Baghdad, gunmen on motorcycles riddled a civilian vehicle carrying four off-duty policemen with bullets, killing three and wounding another, a police officer said.

Another group of gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in the city of Samarra, killing two policemen and wounding four, another police officer said. Samarra is 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

Police also said two civilians were killed and nine wounded when a bomb ripped through a small market late Friday in Baghdad.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but al-Qaida’s Iraq arm and other Sunni extremists frequently target Shia and security forces in an effort to undermine public confidence in the elected government that replaced two decades of dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein.

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