SHAFAQNA – A suicide bombing targeting a Shia mosque in eastern Baghdad has killed at least 15 people, officials said. A police officer said the bomber blew up his explosives-laden vest among worshippers as they were leaving the mosque after noon prayers in the New Baghdad area on Monday.
At least 26 people were wounded in the blast.
Since early this year, Iraq has been facing increasing levels of violence from the Islamic State group and other Sunni fighters who have taken over areas in the country’s west and north.
The crisis has worsened since June when the Islamic State declared a caliphate in territory under its control.
On Monday, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay condemned “appalling, widespread” crimes being committed by Islamic State forces in Iraq, including mass executions of prisoners and “ethnic and religious cleansing”.
“Grave, horrific human rights violations are being committed daily by the Islamic State group and associated armed groups,” Pillay said, citing targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, slavery, sex crimes, forced recruitment and destruction of places of worship.
“They are systematically targeting men, women and children based on their ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation and are ruthlessly carrying out widespread ethnic and religious cleansing in the areas under their control.”
The violence and political divisions have thrown Iraq into deep crisis. At his first press conference since accepting the nomination to be Iraq’s next prime minister, Haider al-Abadi on Monday called on the country’s numerous militias and tribes to come under government control and stop acting independent of the government.
Abadi said that the phenomena of militias roaming the streets alone “worries me and I consider it very dangerous”.
The new prime minister, who has until September 10 to form a new government, said he was optimistic he would make that deadline.