Deadliest day in months
Tensions between Shiites and Sunnis escalate violence in Iraq
crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in the country's north on April 23.
The deadliest blast on Friday struck worshippers as they were leaving the main Sunni mosque in Baqouba, a former Sunni insurgent stronghold 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Another explosion went off shortly afterward as people gathered to help the wounded, leaving at least 41 dead and 56 wounded, according to police and hospital officials. Bloodied bodies were strewn across the road outside the mosque.
Later Friday, a roadside bomb exploded during a Sunni funeral procession in Madain, about 12 miles south of Baghdad, killing eight mourners and wounding 11, police said. Two medical officials confirmed the casualties.
Another explosion struck a cafe in Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, killing two people and wounding nine, according to police and hospital officials.
In Baghdad, a bomb exploded near a shopping center during evening rush hour in the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Amariyah, killing 21 people and wounding 32. That was followed by another bomb in a commercial district in Dora, another Sunni neighborhood, which killed four people and wounded 22, according to officials.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not autho- rized to brief reporters.
It was the deadliest day since Sept. 9 when 92 people were killed, according to an Associated Press tally.
The attacks on Sunnis came after two days of car bombs targeting Shiite ar- eas in Baghdad and other attacks that left 21 people dead on Thursday and 33 on Wednesday.
The violence was the latest to hit a Sunni Muslim house of worship, a trend that has been on the rise. About 30 Sunni mosques have been attacked between mid-April to mid-May, killing more than 100 Sunni worshippers.
The Iraqi Parliament in the attendance if Interior Ministry is expected to hold a special session tomorrow to discuss the security issue.
Iraqis gather at the scene of a bomb attack in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad on May 17.