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BLACK FRIDAY lMosque carnage as militants gun down fleeing worshippers.

BAGHDAD: At least 70 Iraqi worshippers were killed in a mosque carnage in a volatile province outside Baghdad yesterday. Militants first detonated a bomb near the entrance of the Sunni mosque and then used machine-guns to spray a deadly hail of bullets on fleeing worshippers.

It was not immediately clear if the attack was carried out by Shi'ite militiamen or the Islamic State extremist group, which has been advancing into the ethnically and communally mixed Diyala province and has been known to kill fellow Sunnis who refuse to submit to its leadership.

But Sunni MPs pointed to powerful Shi'ite militias, and two major parliamentary blocs pulled out of talks on forming a new cabinet, setting up a major challenge for prime minister-designate Haider Al Abaadi, who is struggling to form an inclusive government that can confront the militants.

The blocs affiliated with parliament speaker Salim Al Jabouri and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al Mutlak demanded that outgoing Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and the main Shi'ite parliamentary bloc hand over the perpetrators within 48 hours and compensate the families of victims "if they want the political process and the new government to see the light of day".

Officials in Musab bin Omair Mosque in Imam Wais village, 120km northeast of Baghdad, said securitymen raced to the scene of the attack to reinforce security but stumbled upon bombs planted by the militants, which allowed the attackers to flee.

Four militiamen were killed and 13 wounded by the blasts. More than 60 were also injured.

The officials said Islamic State fighters have been trying to convince two prominent Sunni tribes in the area -- the Oal Waisi and Al Jabour -- to join them, but that they have thus far refused.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Aug 23, 2014
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