On Friday March 17, 2013 explosions ripped through a large crowd of Sunni worshipers, killing 47. Earlier in the day another explosion took place at a Sunni funeral just outside of the city limits. The deadly incidents have intensified fears that a new round of sectarian conflict is on the horizon.
Forty-seven were killed when a bomb was detonated as prayer services at a mosque located in the Baqouba district was leaving. The second explosion went off not long after the first as people gathered to help the wounded. A horrific scene awaited officials as bloody bodies lay strewn across the roadway in front of the mosque. In the end over 40 were confirmed dead and 56 wounded. Since April 30 mosques have been attacked resulting in the deaths of 65 Sunni worshipers.
Hours later a second bombing took place at a funeral being held just south of the capitol. Seven were killed and eleven wounded in the attack. These attacks come after two days of extreme violence in Shiite areas that left 50 dead.
As the explosions took place hundreds Iraqis gathered in a southern city to attend funerals of two Shiite fighters who were killed earlier in the week in Syria. The area has seen several of these types of funerals in the past few months adding to the chances that conflict has or will take on a sectarian regional dimension.
Over the last few months Iraqi Shiite fighters have crept into Syria an area where mainly Sunni rebels are battling a regime that is dominated by a Shiite offshoot sect. Family members state that the fighters are brought into the battle by a deep religious duty that they feel to protect the Sayida Zeinab shrine. The shrine marks what many believe to be the resting place of the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad.
Written By: Tammy Marie Rose