A double suicide bomb attack has hit a Shiite mosque in north-eastern Iraq, killing at least 18 worshippers including a senior police officer, officials said.
A car bomber attacked the al-Zahraa mosque in the town of Balad Ruz as worshippers were leaving after the Friday sermon, a police officer said. A second bomber on foot attacked the crowds gathered in the aftermath.
At least 41 other people were wounded.
Among the dead were the leader of the town’s police commandos, Colonel Adnan Mohammed al-Timimi, and two policemen, the official added.
Balad Ruz is 44 miles north east of Baghdad. The predominantly Shiite town is in Iraq’s religiously mixed province of Diyala, which has witnessed major clashes between government forces and Sunni insurgents in recent months.
A medical official confirmed the causality figures.
The attack bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State extremist group. It considers Shiites heretics and has captured large chunks of territory in western and northern Iraq, plunging the country into its worst crisis since US troops left at the end of 2011.
IS and other Sunni extremists carry out near-daily attacks targeting Iraq’s security forces and the country’s Shiite majority.