Friday, November 28, 2008
A suicide bomber killed 12 people in an Iraqi mosque on Friday while thousands of followers of anti-American Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrated in Baghdad after parliament passed a pact allowing U.S. troops to remain through 2011.
Some 9,000 people protested in Baghdad’s Shi’ite slum of Sadr City after Friday prayers, burning a U.S. flag and holding banners reading “No, no to the agreement.” About 2,500 people held a similar rally in the southern city of Basra.
“I express my condolences to the Iraqi people on this grave occasion, in which they are harmed by the … pact of shame and degradation,” Sadr, whose militia has fought U.S. troops many times, said in a statement read to followers on his behalf.
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Sadr told his followers to wear black to mourn the passage of the deal, under which U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraqi towns and cities by mid-2009, and leave the country by the end of 2011.
Earlier on Friday, a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-packed vest killed 12 people and wounded 17 others inside a Shi’ite mosque visited mainly by Sadr supporters 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
The U.S. military said the bomber killed eight people and wounded 15 others as they queued outside the mosque to enter for Friday prayers.
U.N. officials say such attacks are aimed at provoking renewed sectarian fighting between minority Sunni Arabs, once affiliated with al Qaeda, and the majority Shi’ites who are now in charge of Iraq.
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This article was posted: Friday, November 28, 2008 at 1:08 pm