Dozens die in Iraq bombing, al-Sadr blames occupation forces

Friday, April 7, 2006

At least seventy civilians were killed, with many more injured in an apparent suicide attack at the popular Buratha mosque in northern Baghdad soon after the Friday prayers. Police have said that two of the bombers were dressed as women. The attack comes a day after the Iraqi interior ministry issued a warning about possible attacks on mosques.

The chief imam of Buratha mosque, Sheikh Jalaluddin al-Saghir, who is also a member of the Iraqi parliament, stated that Shias are being targeted "as part of this dirty sectarian war waged against them as the world watches silently."

Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr on the other hand asserts that recent bombings were in fact the work of the US-led coalition forces. Regarding Thursday's Najaf bombing, he was quoted as saying: "This is not the first time that the occupation forces and their death squads have resorted to killings".

Sadr further charged the occupying forces, and more specifically the United States, with "killing religious Shia clerics in order to start a sectarian strife".

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad issued a statement, urging all parties to remain calm: "I urge all Iraqis to exercise restraint in the wake of this tragedy, to come together to fight terror, to continue to resist the provocation to sectarian violence and to pursue justice within the framework of Iraq's laws and constitution."