Google Alert - BAGHDAD -- Gunmen bent on revenge burned mosques and homes in a Sunni enclave of Baghdad yesterday as Iraq's leaders pleaded for calm, a day after the worst bomb attack since the U.S. invasion.
Some 30 people were killed, police said, as suspected Shia militiamen rampaged for hours, untroubled by a curfew enforced in the capital by U.S. and Iraqi forces after bombs killed more than 200 people in the Shia stronghold of Sadr City.
Four mosques and several houses were burnt in a Sunni part of the mainly Shia Hurriya area in northwest Baghdad, Sunni deputy prime minister Salem al-Zobaie said.
One witness said 14 people were killed in his mosque during Friday prayers: "It was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades," university teacher Imad al-Din al-Hashemi said. "When the gunmen moved on to attack another mosque, we evacuated the wounded."
The White House called the violence a "brazen effort to topple a democratically elected government." The U.S. military said it sent no troops to Hurriya, but added that Iraqi police were on hand. Many police units are close to Shia militia groups.
It was the second daylight raid by guerrillas in two days. With the competence and sectarian loyalties of security forces in doubt, some fear that such clashes could erupt into open warfare.
Most Baghdadis stayed at home, exchanging often wildly varied rumours about the violence by telephone. The vehicle curfew was extended throughout today.
Twenty-two people died when two suicide bombers struck a Shia market in the northern city of Tal Afar, adding pressure on the fragile national unity government on which Washington has pinned its hopes of a smooth exit from Iraq.
United Nations envoy Ashraf Qazi warned of "a cycle of uncontrollable violence threatening the very social fabric of Iraq or any prospects for a future of peace, tolerance and unity."
In Sadr City, after a day of funeral processions, the U.S. military said a helicopter destroyed a site where six rockets had been fired at a mosque in a nearby Sunni area. It said it acted to "prevent further escalation of sectarian violence."
Muqtada al-Sadr, the young cleric whose Mahdi Army militia dominates the sprawling east Baghdad slum, appealed for Muslim unity in a sermon but also demanded the leading religious figure from the Sunni minority issue a fatwa against al-Qaeda members.
Such appeals after the bombing at Samarra in February of a major Shia shrine failed to stop sectarian bloodshed at the time.
Mr. al-Sadr also sought to take advantage of the carnage in Sadr City to ram home demands for an end to the U.S. occupation. Aides said they would quit Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet and parliament if Mr. al-Maliki went ahead with a planned summit with U.S. President George W. Bush in Jordan next week.
Mr. Bush was expected to discuss with Mr. al-Maliki how to give Iraqi forces more control and at a faster rate.
A Saudi aggression fighter jet targeted a citizen's car driving in Fara area of Kutaf district in Saada province overnight, killing the driver and injuring his friend, a security official said on Monday.
Scores of Saudi enemy soldiers were killed and injured on Sunday when the army and popular forces repelled a Saudi military attempt to sneak into Shurfah site in the border province of Najran, a military official said.
The operation was accomplished successfully against the Saudi
Saudi aggression warplanes have launched more than 49 airstrikes over the past hours on several residential areas across Yemen, a security official said on Sunday.
The airstrikes targeted the areas of Malahiz and Husama in Dhahir district, and areas Thuban, Masahif and Sdad in Bakim district of northern Saada province.