Scores of Iraqi civilians and police officers were killed in Baghdad Friday in separate attacks on police stations and a mosque. Senior government officials say the attacks are intended to weaken security and ignite a civil war.
The wave of violence in Baghdad is rising and becoming more deadly.
More than two dozen people, including 11 police officers, were killed Friday, in separate attacks against two police stations and a mosque.
Four suicide bombers, driving a mini bus, detonated themselves near a Shiite Muslim mosque in northern Baghdad. Fourteen civilians, who had gathered for morning prayers, were killed, along with the bombers. As many as 19 others were wounded.
A senior interim government official said he believes the attack against the mosque was intended to kindle racial hatred, in an effort to start a civil war between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
Simultaneously, insurgents attacked two police stations in different sections of Baghdad. One of the stations was attacked with five rockets.
The other police station was overrun by as many as 20 insurgents armed with rocket propelled grenades and small weapons. In that attack, as many as 11 Iraqi police officers were killed and five were wounded. The insurgents also freed about 20 jailed prisoners.
According to senior government officials, attacks against police stations are intended to weaken security forces in Iraq in advance of national elections scheduled to be held next month.
The wave of violence in Baghdad has been rising ever since American and Iraqi military forces retook control of the once rebellious city of Fallujah, west of the capital. Suicide bombings, mortar attacks and roadside bombings have become a daily occurrence in Baghdad, killing and wounding scores of mostly Iraqi civilians.
While the interim government of Iyad Allawi is working to bring the security situation in Iraq under control, senior officials have said the country may face acts of violence for years to come.
Many of the attacks have been blamed on foreign fighters. In that regard, a meeting was held this week in Tehran among Arab states that neighbor Iraq. Iraqi officials were seeking greater cooperation in protecting its borders from infiltrators, especially in advance of the upcoming national elections.