Officials said that highest death toll was outside the Shuroofi mosque in the north, in the district of Shaab. Once controlled by a militia loyal to Mr. Sadr, the mosque had in recent years been taken over by the national police, so Sadr loyalists pray outside in the street. Initial reports indicated that 23 people died in the attack and 107 were wounded. Shortly after the bombing, prayer mats, beads, shoes and umbrellas used for shade from the midday sun were scattered along the street. Women wailed. Witnesses said the explosion had been caused by a bomb hidden in a parked car on a road where several hundred people had gathered to pray. A young witness said “It was a horrific scene,” “People lost their limbs, and some had their faces blown off. I haven’t seen anything like this.”
The second most deadly bombing Friday took place at Al Rasool Mosque in the Diyala Bridge neighborhood of east Baghdad. Five people died when two bombs exploded in quick succession there, and 15 were wounded. While there have been numerous attacks on Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and in predominantly Shiite marketplaces, attacks on the city’s mosques have been infrequent in recent months. Although violence has declined significantly since the worst of Iraq’s sectarian conflict in 2006 and 2007, attacks continue almost daily against Iraqi forces, and an intermittent pattern of major attacks continues to wreak havoc, often aimed at civilians in markets and other public places.