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Iraqi suicide bombers hit Baghdad mosque, kill 34

BAGHDAD — Two suicide bombers targeted a Shi’ite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday, one blowing himself up at a nearby checkpoint while the other slipped inside during prayers. The blasts killed 34 people, Iraqi officials said.

The coordinated bombings were the latest in a string of attacks to hit Iraq, reviving fears the country is headed back toward the widespread sectarian bloodshed that pushed it to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

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Two police officers said the first bomber detonated his explosives at a security checkpoint near the mosque in Baghdad’s northern Qahira neighborhood in an apparent attempt to distract the authorities. The area is a middle-class, Shi’ite-majority neighborhood.

Amid the commotion, a second bomber slipped past concrete blast walls and into the mosque, where he blew himself up while worshipers were performing midday prayers, according to police officials.

The bombings also wounded 57 people, the officials said.

Most of the casualties were students from the nearby Imam al-Sadiq University for Islamic Studies. Police officials said the university’s Shi’ite students usually perform their midday prayers in the mosque that was hit. After the blasts, security forces quickly sealed off the area around the simple, unadorned mosque.

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