Sectarian violence continues to rise in Iraq as suicide bombs and gunfire killed over 85 people in areas around Baghdad in the Diyala province.
On early Friday, a bomber attempted to murder a leader of a local Shi’ite tribe. He survived, but five men died. Only a few hours later, Shi’ite gunmen opened fire at a Sunni mosque in an apparent retaliation attack. The men murdered 68 people.
“Sectarian militias entered and opened fire at worshippers. Most mosques have no security,” said Dayani, a Sunni in the village. “Some of the victims were from one family. Some women who rushed to see the fate of their relatives at the mosque were killed.”
Unfortunately, one attack leads to another.
“Sunni tribes have been alerted to avenge the killings,” said Sunni tribal leader Salman al-Jibouri.
It appears the Sunni tribes listened to al-Jibouri. One bomber drove into the Interior Ministry, which killed eleven people and wounded 24. In Tikrit, another bomber rammed his vehicle into a “gathering of soldiers and Shiite militias on Friday night, killing nine.”
The violence caused Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq and Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jibouri, both Sunni Muslims, to cancel talks with Shi’ite allies until investigations are complete. Jibouri condemned the violence on both sides.
“We will not allow them to exploit disturbed security in the country to undermine the political process,” he said. “We believe the political process should move on.”