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33 killed by bomb hidden in air conditioner at mosque

A man looked through debris in a Sunni mosque near the Iraqi city of Baqouba after a bomb killed 33 worshipers.

Mohammed Adnan/Reuters

A man looked through debris in a Sunni mosque near the Iraqi city of Baqouba after a bomb killed 33 worshipers.

BAGHDAD — A bomb hidden inside an air conditioner exploded Friday at a Sunni mosque packed with worshipers northeast of Baghdad, the deadliest in a series of attacks in Iraq that killed 33 people, officials said.

The blast in the village of Umm al-Adham on the outskirts of Baqouba, a former insurgent stronghold, left the green and white walls of the mosque spattered with blood. Debris was strewn across the tiled floor.

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Police said at least 30 people were killed and 45 wounded. Two security officials said the bomb was hidden inside an air conditioner unit placed in the window.

Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, also was hit with deadly violence earlier this week. Three car bombs targeting outdoor markets Tuesday killed at least 10 civilians in the city.

A roadside bomb also killed two soldiers and wounded two others in the northern city of Mosul, while gunmen shot and killed Khalaf Hameed, a local municipal official in the nearby Shora district, authorities said.

Hospital officials confirmed the causality figures for all the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Iraq is weathering its deadliest bout of violence in half a decade, raising fears the country is returning to the sectarian bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of civil war in the years after the US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein. It comes against the backdrop of rising tensions between Iraq’s Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. The tensions are being inflamed in part by the sectarian divisions reflected in the civil war in neighboring Syria.

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