Al Qaeda suicide bomber kills 28 Iraqis in attack in Baghdad mosque

Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al Samarrai.

A suicide bomber killed 28 people in an attack today at a mosque in Baghdad that also serves as the headquarters of the Sunni Endowment. A Sunni politician was among those killed, and a cleric who has been vocal in his criticism of his opposition to al Qaeda and its puppet Islamic State of Iraq was wounded.

The suicide bomber hid his bomb in a fake splint and entered the Umm al Quraa mosque in western Baghdad during the evening prayers that mark the final days of Ramadan. The bomber attempted to get as close as possible to Sheikh Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al Samarrai, the head of the influential Sunni Endowment, Iraqi police told McClatchy Newspapers.

The blast killed Khalid al Fahdawi, an Iraqi politician, and 27 other people, including children. Scores more were wounded in the attack, including Samarrai.

While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, al Qaeda in Iraq’s Islamic State of Iraq is thought to have executed it. The terror group uses suicide attacks to target civilians and has carried out attacks in mosques in the past, including the leveling of the al Askaria mosque in the city of Samarra, one of the most influential mosques in all of Shia Islam.

Ten days ago, the Islamic State of Iraq promised to carry out 100 terror attacks by the end of Ramadan to avenge the deaths of top al Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq leaders.

“We announce the start of the third phase of the blessed ‘Plan of the Good Harvest,'” according to a statement from the Islamic State of Iraq, which was released on Aug. 19 and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

“We will begin this phase with an invasion that we called the invasion of ‘retaliation for Sheikh Osama bin Laden and the senior commanders, Abu Omar [al Baghdadi, the former leader of the ISI], Abu Hamza [al Muhajir, the war minister of the ISI and head of al Qaeda in Iraq], and Abu Ibrahim, the governor of Anbar,’ and it will start, with permission from Allah, in the middle of the month of fasting, and end … after exactly one-hundred raids,” the statement continued. “It will be diversified … between storming and martyrdom-seeking operations, in addition to devices, silencers, and snipers, in all the cities, villages and provinces.”

Samarrai is a prime target for al Qaeda and its Islamic State of Iraq. In November 2007, he supported the closure of the the Umm al Quraa mosque, which at the time was the headquarters of the Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni group that had supported al Qaeda and the Islamic Army of Iraq [see LWJ report, Sunni clerics turn on Association of Muslim Scholars]. He accused the Association of Muslim Scholars of sowing divisions amongst Iraqis and remaining silent while al Qaeda killed Sunnis and Shia alike. He had pointed criticism for al Qaeda in Iraq as well.

“Al Qaeda announced that it kills the Sunni people who participate in the political process, and [kills] the Shi’a on the basis of their identity,” Sammarai said. “We want the world to understand that we refuse al Qaeda’s death sentence on the Iraqi people.”

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Christen al Iman says:

    As a Muslim, the following statement and resultant acts which are often times perpetrated, greatly offends me:
    “Al Qaeda announced that it kills the Sunni people who participate in the political process, and (kills) the Shi’a on the basis of their identity.”
    I am an Imam as well as a Shi’a Muslim, and this is because I follow the Prophet Muhammad and his wishes, precepts and decrees.
    Even though many of my Sunni brothers and sisters are opposed to the Shi’a sect, even to the point of killing us, for what I consider nothing more than irrelevant political opposition, this is in no way ordained of God and they are without a doubt comitting a grave sin as is any Shi’a Muslim who returns this same offense.
    This concerns the the Wahhabis and Sulifists especially!!
    WE are not to kill our brother’s and sisters due to political dissension.
    “None of you has Iman until he desires for his brother (or sister) Muslim that which he desires for himself (or herself).”
    Therefore if you have no faith, you too, are to be counted as those whom you yourself accuse of having none.
    And whoever does not listen to and properly interpret this simple truth is condemning his own soul.

  • Soccer says:

    Christen Al Iman,
    I’m afraid that you’re a little too late when it comes to “voicing your outrage” as a Muslim over issues like this. Muslims have dropped the ball when it comes to issues like this and things like this happen so much now that no matter what kind of posts you make, it will not change the reality of the world.
    Suicide bombings in mosques are just like rainy days to us now. Nobody cares anymore, mostly due to the fact that it happens so damn much.

  • Joe says:

    Brutal and blatant abuse of the trust of other Sunnis, classic Al Qaeda-style tactics.
    When the chips are down or they feel themselves insecure, al Qaeda affiliates and central will speak to other Muslims with words of honey, even talk of reconcilation and forgiveness as Abu Omar al Baghdadi did in a number of his audio speeches before his death April 2010.
    But when the opportunity presents itself, these al Qaeda terrorist will pursue a target even if it means in the process, slaughtering other Muslims whose religious and political views are not known, i.e, there could have been Sunnis in this mosque who did NOT support the Iraqi government and may even have been secretly pro-Islamic State of Iraq.
    I also cannot understand why not enough media exposure exists of these types of events; ISI in Iraq seems to be strengthening lately and now they go and do this: Targeting the main Sunni mosque in the heart of what is vital in any Arab country, the capital city with its’ epicentre of shared religious (Sunni groups) confluence. Even if ISI/AQI was ever to become popular with all Sunni groups, bombing the main Sunni mosque in the capital city is the worst possible tactic they could have used. One wonders if someone like Bin Laden, if he had been alive and leader of ISI, would have decided to strike this mosque. Clearly there are factions emerging withing Islamic State of Iraq/Al Qaeda in Iraq.

  • madashell59 says:

    I find it refreshing to see these comments on this site. As for Joe’s first question in his last paragraph I think all you have to do is read Soccer’s last comment.
    I am hopeful that these insights become more normal and that if you truly believe in Allah or God then you know that everyone is your brother or sister

  • Soccer says:

    It’s one thing to make feel-good posts about “brothers and sisters” on a website, but it’s not going to stop people from strapping on suicide vests and killing innocents and blowing other people’s bodies apart in the name of their religion.
    I have to put it as bluntly as possible to get it across. Rose coloured glasses won’t help anything, unless you think blood and severed limbs look good when they’re pink.

  • Zeissa says:

    That’s an admirable stance of you Christan, but isn’t it that Allah can only come back once Islam has conquered the Earth by the sword?

  • Zeissa says:

    Did I post the Sures in this comment thread? I hope I didn’t post it in the one post before this one accidentally? I’ll just give the link then:
    My problem here is that the Koran has most of its violent verses towards the latter sections, and in mainstream Islam they are given precedence over the earlier ones if there is conflict and no clear priority to the early ones in terms of relevance or other factors.
    In general the violent interpretations of Islam are more exegetically, theologically and historically correct than the liberal and peaceful ones.
    Granted Christen can probably argue me down since he’s a theologian within Islam, but I can bet that afterwards when I go to get a second opinion from the more numerous conservative imams (best example would be those in the university of Cairo) they would make even better arguments for why Christen is wrong about some of his points.
    Personally I’m more of a historian and I have read historical situations where Islam used theological reasons as casus belli well into the 18th and 19th and even the early 20th centuries.
    Peaceful Islam did not really exist as a moderate (as in not weak) political influence until the fall of the Ottoman Empire and if you search out Wikipedia: List of Terrorist Incidents, well… just go look: //
    So anyway I admire Christen, and I hope there will be more like him, but until I am convinced he is right and then not convinced back by the conservative Islams I will continue to believe that Islam is inherently violent and that the liberals are the heretics, not the violent conservatives.
    PS. Mainstream Christians are also considered to be pagans whenever it is convenient for Muslims, as we are trinitarians.


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