A suicide bomber struck during Friday prayers at a Shi’ite mosque in Musaib, south of Baghdad, killing nine worshippers and injuring 15 the day after Iraq’s parliament approved a pact allowing US troops to remain until 2011. The mosque was affiliated with Moqtada al-Sadr, who had just declared three days of mourning to protest the accord. Among those killed was an old woman begging for alms at the mosque’s entrance. In July 2005, more than 70 were killed at the same mosque when a suicide bomber detonated a truck loaded with explosives and cooking gas near the building.
The new attack came the same day Sadr issued a statement calling on his supporters to “put up black flags, organize mourning ceremonies across the country and hold peaceful demonstrations” to protest at the pact. In Baghdad’s Sadr City—the cleric’s main bastion of support—followers listened to fiery Friday sermons as Iraqi forces fanned out across the district and US attack helicopters hovered overhead. “No, no to America, No, no to colonialism, No, no to Satan!” Sheikh Hassan al-Husseini told worshippers before they poured into the streets, waving large black banners, lashing themselves with chains and torching American flags. (AFP, CNN, Nov. 28)