03-19-2018  3:23 pm      •     
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By Mohammed Tawfeeq CNN

A bomb hidden in a Sunni mosque exploded while worshipers listened to a sermon Friday in northeastern Iraq, killing at least 18 people and injuring 56, police and health officials said.

The bomb had been hidden under a podium from which an imam was speaking in the mosque, located in al-Wajihiya in the largely Sunni province of Diyala, said police officials in the nearby provincial capital of Baquba.

Al-Wajihiya is a small Sunni village close to Muqdadiya, a largely Shiite district. It is about 25 kilometers northeast of Baquba, which itself is about 60 kilometers north-northeast of Baghdad.

The bloodshed comes amid a recent uptick in violence, much of it stemming from discord between Sunnis and Shiites.

Sunni Arabs had more political clout in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule, before his government was deposed in 2003 by the U.S.-led invasion.

Sunnis have long felt politically marginalized under a Shiite-led government in the post-Saddam era.


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