In a horrific sectarian massacre of Sunni worshippers in Diyala province, members of a Shia militia group killed at least 73 in a Sunni mosque in Bani Wais, near the city of Baquba. Officials say a bomber blew himself up in the mosque during Friday prayers and gunmen fired on fleeing worshippers. (Reuters, 22 August)
Iraqi Prime minister-designate Haider al-Abadi condemned the massacre of Sunni worshippers, while the current premier, Nuri al-Maliki, ordered an investigation into the killing.
An Iraqi security official told AFP that Shia militias affiliated with the government had carried out the assault. The official did not identify the group, but several Iranian-backed militias, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), Kataib Hezbollah (KH) and Badr Organization, operate in Diyala province.
File photo: Shia militias near Samarra, Iraq. (NYTimes)