7 killed in Baghdad explosion at Shiite mosque

BAGHDAD:A bomb blast killed seven people at a Shiite mosque in eastern Baghdad on Friday and wounded more than 20, police sources said.

The blast hit the Imam Mahdi Al-Muntadhar Mosque in Baladiyat, near the massive and densely populated district of Sadr City.

“At least one attacker wearing a belt of explosives tried to enter the building but was stopped by the guards, and detonated himself outside,” one officer said.

“Two civilians were killed and nine people were wounded,” the source said. The second officer confirmed the details and toll for the attack. At the scene, security forces quickly deployed to cordon off the site, a photographer at the mosque said.

It was a rare attack on a Shiite place of worship in the Iraqi capital.

Extremists carried out high-profile bombings of Iraqi Shiite sites during the worst of the country’s sectarian violence after the US invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Baghdad’s security improved significantly with the defeat of Daesh in 2017 and bomb attacks of any kind in the city have been rare since then.

Iraq has witnessed a rare period of relative calm in recent months after decades of back-to-back conflict, including years of sectarian violence that regularly saw dozens killed in explosions in Baghdad.

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