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31 killed, 57 wounded in suicide bombing at Baghdad mosque

By Mohammed Tawfeeq and Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Tue June 18, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police: Bombers shot guards, then blew themselves up
  • The incident occurred in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood
  • There was a string of attacks Monday as well
  • Sunni-Shiite tensions have worsened lately

(CNN) -- At least 31 people were killed and 57 others were wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday, police said.

The incident took place during noon prayers in the Habib Ibn al-Mudhaher mosque in al-Qahira, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood in the northeastern section of the Iraqi capital. The bombers, clad in suicide vests, detonated the explosives inside the mosque.

Police said that the two bombers used pistols equipped with silencers to kill several guards before they entered the mosque and blew themselves up.

Is Iraq unraveling?

This follows a string of attacks across central Iraq on Monday that killed at least a dozen people and wounded more than 50 others. That violence came on a special voting day for security forces, police and others ahead of provincial elections.

Sunni-Shiite tensions and violence have risen for months in Iraq, which was wracked by sectarian fighting during the height of the Iraq war last decade.

Many Sunni Arabs, who dominated Iraq under longtime strongman Saddam Hussein, have felt marginalized under the Shiite-led government that took power after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Hussein in 2003.

The United States has kept an extensive diplomatic presence in Iraq since the last American military units left in December 2011.

READ: Iraq mayhem 'ready to explode' into wider conflict, U.N. official says

READ: Iraq at crossroads as bombs explode

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