Two Sunni mosques blown up in Iraq, muezzin shot dead in third

Two Sunni mosques were blown up in Iraq overnight and the muezzin of a third mosque was shot dead in a series of attacks south of Baghdad, police said Monday.

All three mosques are located in the province of Babil, were police said unidentified gunmen shot the muezzin - a mosque official who calls the faithful to prayer - in the town of Alexandria, about 40 kilometres south of the capital.

Two Sunni mosques in and near the provincial capital of Hillah were blown up overnight, damaging nearby houses but causing no injuries, police said.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the attacks were aimed at fomenting internal conflict.

"We have ordered the Babil operations command to pursue the criminal gangs from Daesh [Islamic State] and its likes who attacked the mosques to stir up internal strife and strike at our national unity," al-Abadi wrote on his official Facebook page.

There was no claim of responsibility for the incidents. Iraq often sees sectarian attacks by rival Sunni and Shiite militants.

The execution in Saudi Arabia of dissident Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday prompted an angry reaction from Shiite political and religious figures in Iraq.

Decrying the execution, al-Abadi said that "the liquidation of opposition figures will only bring more destruction upon governments and people."

Last update: Mon, 04/01/2016 - 14:31

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