ISIS blamed for Iraq bombings intended to start sectarian war

Two Sunni Muslim mosques were bombed over the weekend in Iraq — in apparent retaliation for the execution of a senior Shi’ite cleric. Late Sunday, Baghdad’s interior ministry confirmed the attacks in Hilla, which is south of the capital city.

When Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shi’ite cleric on Saturday – it set off angry mobs in Shi’ite ruled Iraq and Iran. A day later — after angry protesters attacked multiple Sunni sites in Iran — the Riyadh government reportedly cut ties with Tehran.

However, one security official told The Herald Sun, he doesn’t believe the recent explosions were linked to the Saudi-Iran fight over the kingdom’s execution of Nimr al-Nimr.

One Iraqi official blamed Islamic State for the bombing of the mosques, saying the militant group wanted to “stoke sectarian tensions”. Just a few weeks earlier, the US warned that something like this would happen.  In late December, we reported that ISIS ordered fighters to disguise themselves as Iraqi Security Forces members, and go out and attack civilians. They issued flyers commanding fighters to fill local mosques with explosives and detonate them– all while filming these atrocities.

A dome and several walls were destroyed in the Sunday attack on a mosque in the northern outskirts of Hilla, according to Reuters TV. A local council member alerted police to a second attack on a mosque in the central part of the city — where a guard was reportedly killed.

Authorities have since beefed up security around the two targeted mosques and other Sunni mosques in the city. Sectarian bloodshed –mainly between the Sunni minority and Shi’ite majority– has plagued Iraq for years. Tensions escalated when Shia Muslims reclaimed power after the 2003 US-led invasion.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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