At least 35 killed in attack on Shia mausoleum north of Baghdad

Attack on the mausoleum reignites fears of an escalation of sectarian strife between Iraq's Shias and Sunnis

Reuters July 08, 2016
Attack on the mausoleum reignites fears of an escalation of sectarian strife between Iraq's Shias and Sunnis. PHOTO: REUTERS

Islamic State claimed a triple suicide attack on Thursday evening near a Shia mausoleum north of Baghdad, which killed at least 35 people and wounded 60 others, according to Iraqi security sources.

The attack on the Mausoleum of Sayid Mohammed bin Ali al Hadi reignited fears of an escalation of the sectarian strife between Iraq's Shias and Sunnis.

IS-claimed Baghdad blast kills at least 119

The Shia form a majority in Iraq but Sunnis are predominant in northern and western provinces, including Salahuddin where the mausoleum is located.

Prominent Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr ordered his militia, the Peace Brigade, to deploy around the mausoleum, near Balad, about 93 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Sadr's militia is also deployed in Samarra, a nearby city that houses the shrine of Imam Ali al Hadi, the father of Sayid Mohammed whose mausoleum was attacked on Thursday.

A 2006 bombing destroyed the golden dome of the shrine of Ali al Hadi and his other son, Imam Hasan al Askari, setting off a wave of sectarian violence akin to a civil war.

Two bombs in Baghdad kill 13, say police and medical sources

Pictures posted on social media showed a fire burning in the market located at the entrance of the Sayid Mohammed mausoleum. It was not clear if the site itself was damaged.

A man detonated an explosive belt at the external gate of the mausoleum at around 11 p.m., allowing several gunmen to storm the site and start shooting at worshippers on the occasion of the Eidul Fitr festival, according to the security sources.

At least one gunmen blew himself up in the middle of the crowd while another was gunned down by the guard of the mausoleum before he could detonate his explosive belt. The site also came under rocket fire during the attack that was claimed by Islamic State. The ultra-hardline Sunni group said in a statement the attack was carried out by three suicide bombers wearing explosive belts.

The militants have lost ground since last year to US-backed government forces and Iranian-backed Shia militias, but recent bombings showed they still have the ability to strike outside the territory they control in northern and western Iraq.

A massive truck bomb killed at least 292 people in a mainly Shia shopping area of central Baghdad over the weekend, in the deadliest single bombing since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.


Let's Call It What It Is | 5 years ago | Reply @Adnan Siddiqui: Let's not refer to these people as just Muslims. This was some Wahhabis targeting Shias. Somebody has to do some research on why Wahabbism promotes such intolerance and violence against anyone who does not follow their beliefs. Shia genocide is real.
Pankaj | 5 years ago | Reply @Adnan Siddiqui: Only Muslims can correct this... Its time for Muslims all over the globe need to stand and fight for major changes in Islamic teachings.
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