Written by Staff Writer
23 Aug, 2014 | 7:31 am
An attack by suspected Shia militiamen on a Sunni mosque in Iraq’s Diyala province has killed at least 68 people.
Officials say a bomber blew himself up in the mosque during Friday prayers and gunmen fired on fleeing worshippers.
Diyala province has seen heavy fighting in recent weeks between IS and Iraqi troops backed by Shia militiamen.
The attack is seen as a blow to government efforts to secure backing from Sunni groups in its battle against Islamic State (IS) jihadists.
Prime Minister designate Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shia, is trying to form a more inclusive government – following international criticism of outgoing PM Nouri Maliki, who was widely seen as a divisive figure.
But two influential Sunni politicians, Parliamentary Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak, have suspended participation in talks on a new cabinet in protest at Friday’s massacre.
It took place in a village mosque south of the city of Baquba, about 120km (75 miles) from Baghdad.
A security official told AFP news agency that Shia fighters allied with the government had carried out the assault as a reprisal for a bombing that had targeted their fighters.
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