Mortars, blast hit Iraqi mosques before vote

A policeman speaks on his walkie talkie at a polling centre in Baghdad April 19, 2013. (Reuters)

Mortar rounds targeted a Sunni Muslim mosque in Iraq and a bomb exploded inside a Shi’ite mosque on Friday in attacks that killed at least eight people a day before local elections.

Saturday’s ballot will be a test of Iraq’s political stability with the government mired in crisis over power-sharing among Shi’ite, Sunni and ethnic Kurds more than a year after the last U.S. troops left.

Police said mortar rounds landed outside a Sunni Muslim mosque in a village near Khalis town during Friday prayers, killing seven people and wounding a dozen more.

A bomb placed inside a Shi’ite mosque in Kirkuk, 170 km(100 miles) north of the capital, also killed one and wounded 12more just as worshippers were leaving, officials said.

Violence, suicide bombings and attacks have surged since the start of the year with a local al-Qaeda wing stepping up a campaign to trigger large-scale sectarian confrontation among Iraq’s mix of Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims and Kurds.

A suicide bomber blew himself up on Thursday evening inside a Baghdad cafe in a mainly Sunni neighborhood, killing a least32 and wounding dozens more in one of the worst single attacks in the Iraqi capital this year.

Last Update: 15:21 KSA 18:21 - GMT 15:21