Two suicide bombers targeted a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday, one blowing himself up at a nearby checkpoint while the other slipped inside during prayers. The blasts killed 29 people and injured 55 others, Iraqi officials said.
The coordinated blasts are the latest in a string of attacks rippling across Iraq that is reviving fears the country is headed back toward the widespread sectarian bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of a civil war in 2006 and 2007.
Police and hospital officials provided the casualty numbers for the blasts, which happened in Baghdad’s northern Qahira neighbourhood.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media.
Police said the first bomber detonated his explosives at a security checkpoint near the mosque in an apparent attempt to distract the authorities. The district is a middle class, Shiite-majority neighbourhood.
Amid the commotion, a second bomber slipped into the mosque and blew himself up while worshippers were performing midday prayers, according to police.
Violence has surged in Iraq in recent months, along with sectarian and political tensions. Insurgents frequently attack Shiites deemed by Sunni extremists as infidels and non-Muslims.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suicide bombings and attacks against Shiite worshippers are frequently the work of al-Qaida’s Iraq arm.
The bloodshed roiling Iraq has risen to levels not seen since 2008. Nearly 2,000 have been killed since the start of April, including more than 220 this month.
On Sunday, a wave of apparently coordinated bombings and a shooting killed at least 51 people. Another 15 people were killed in bomb attacks on Monday, including one caused by a suicide bomber who set off his explosives-laden belt among a group of policemen in Fallujah, west of Baghdad.