Officials seek to contain anger over Iraq mosque massacre

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Saturday, August 23, 2014

Iraqi officials worked Saturday to calm soaring tensions after the killing of about 70 people at a Sunni mosque the day before.

Most accounts of the attack at the mosque in Diyala province on Friday said responsibility over the massacre lied with Shia militiamen, but some official sources claimed it may have been carried about by jihadi group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

On Saturday, Iraq's parliament speaker sought to calm tensions caused by the bloody attack on the mosque.

Salim al-Juburi called for political unity and said "the main aim (of the attack) is to foil all the efforts that have been made to form a government."

"All the political entities condemned the crime, all of them expressed their anger about what happened," he said in televised remarks.

"Now we are waiting for practical measures to hold the criminals accountable."

Iraqi premier-designate Haider al-Abadi has condemned the attack and called for "citizens to close ranks to deny the opportunity to the enemies of Iraq who are trying to provoke strife."

Army and police officers said the attack on the Musab bin Omair Mosque in Diyala came after Shia militiamen were killed in clashes, while other sources said it followed a roadside bomb near one of their patrols.

Doctors and the officers put the toll from the attack, in which worshippers were sprayed with machine-gun fire, at 70 dead and 20 wounded. A morgue official cited by Reuters said 68 were killed.

Two officers had earlier blamed ISIS for the attack, saying it had included a suicide bombing, a hallmark of the group, but most accounts pointed to Shia militiamen.

The interior ministry announced it is conducting an investigation into the attack, which it said was carried out by two gunmen on a motorbike following a bombing targeting security and volunteer forces in the area.

The government turned to militiamen to bolster its flagging forces during the ISIS offensive, sparking a resurgence of groups involved in brutal sectarian killings in past years.

Ibrahim Aziz Ali, whose 25-year-old nephew was among those killed, told AFP he and other residents heard gunfire and rushed to the mosque, where they were fired on by snipers.

When they could finally enter, "we found a massacre," he said.

Officers said that angry residents exchanged fire with security forces and militiamen in the area on Friday, but reported no casualties.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><blockquote><span><aside>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

^ Back to Top