BAGHDAD, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Gunmen bent on revenge burned mosques and homes in a Sunni enclave of Baghdad on Friday as Iraq’s leaders pleaded for calm, a day after the worst bomb attack since the U.S. invasion.
Some 30 people were killed, police said, as suspected Shi’ite militiamen rampaged for hours, untroubled by a curfew enforced in the capital by U.S. and Iraqi forces after bombs killed 202 people in the Shi’ite stronghold of Sadr City.
Four mosques and several houses were burnt in a small Sunni part of the mainly Shi’ite Hurriya area in northwest Baghdad, Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Salem al-Zobaie told Reuters.
One witness said 14 people were killed in his mosque during Friday prayers: “It was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades,” university teacher Imad al-Din al-Hashemi said. “When the gunmen moved on to attack another mosque, we evacuated the wounded.”
The White House called the violence a “brazen effort to topple a democratically elected government”. The U.S. military said it sent no troops to Hurriya but that Iraqi police were on hand. Many police units are close to Shi’ite militia groups.