A suicide car bomber killed at least nine people and wounded 24 others Friday near a Shiite Muslim mosque in Baghdad, police sources said. The bomber in a BMW struck near al-Subaih Mosque in the southeastern Jedida neighborhood as Shiites were leaving the mosque after Friday prayers, the sources said.
About 60 percent of Iraq's 26 million people are &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/accidents/ 21/93/375/13145_Fallujah.html ' target=_blank>Shiites. They were persecuted under Saddam Hussein's regime but have gained power in the new National Assembly, elected in January.
Sunni Muslim militants and Saddam loyalists are part of an insurgency marked by &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/hotspots/2002/07/19/32844.html ' target=_blank>suicide bombings, kidnappings and beheadings that have often targeted Shiites, reports CNN News.
The violence was part of a surge of militant attacks that have caused heavy casualties in recent weeks, ending a relative lull since Iraqis voted in historic Jan. 30 elections. Iraqi leaders are struggling to form a Cabinet that will include members of the Sunni minority, believed to be the driving force in the insurgency.
Friday's car bomb at Al-Subeih mosque targeted the Shiite majority. Witnesses said the vehicle had been parked outside the building since the morning. Frantic worshippers searched through rubble for loved ones, and women wailed and beat their chests in grief. A 10-year-old child was among the eight people killed, and the 26 wounded included two 9-year-olds, hospital officials said. Body parts were strewn among piles of bricks, shattered glass and pools of blood. One man clutched a child's foot, shaking and weeping. ''This is a cowardly and savage act that aims to create conflict among Iraqis,'' said Abdelallah Faraj, a grocer who survived the attack. Shiite mosques and funerals have become a frequent target of Sunni-led insurgents.