• Iraq violence leaves 24 people dead


    BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite mosque north of Baghdad on Saturday, the deadliest in a series of attacks that left 24 people dead nationwide days ahead of Shiite commemorations.

    The unrest is the latest in a surge in nationwide violence which comes as the country grapples with months of protests by its Sunni Arab minority, tensions in a swathe of territory that Kurdish leaders want to incorporate into their autonomous region in the north and protracted political deadlock in Baghdad.

    Saturday’s deadliest attack struck Taji, a predominantly Sunni town that lies just north of Baghdad.

    A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the Al-Rahman mosque in the town at about 8 p.m., according to an interior ministry official and a medical source.

    At least 15 people were killed and 31 others wounded in the explosion, the officials said.

    The mosque is frequented by Shiite Muslims and lies in a Shiite area of Taji.

    No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaeda often carry out suicide attacks and frequently target Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority population, whom they regard as apostates, especially during times of commemorations.