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Suicide bombers kill 40 at Baghdad mosque

Reuters | April 7 2006

A suicide bomber inside a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad and another outside blew themselves up killing at least 40 people on Friday, police said.

The blasts also wounded 45 people. The mosque in northern Baghdad belonged to SCIRI, the most powerful party inside Iraq's ruling Shi'ite Alliance.

The attack came a day after a car bomb exploded near a Shi'ite shrine in the southern city of Najaf, killing at least 13 people.

Sectarian tensions have been running high since the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine on February 22 touched off reprisals and pushed Iraq to the brink of a sectarian civil war.

And a deadlock over the new Iraqi government four months after elections has left a political vacuum that has raised fears it will play into the hands of Arab Sunni insurgents and fuel communal tensions.

U.S. and Iraqi officials say spectacular suicide bombings in Iraq are part of a campaign by al Qaeda militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to draw majority Shi'ites into a full-blown sectarian conflict.

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