A suicide bomber blew himself up inside Baghdad's largest Sunni mosque Sunday night. Iraqi police and hospital officials say 29 worshippers have been killed by the suicide bomber.
Officials say 38 more people were injured in the 9:40 p.m strike on the Um al-Qura mosque during prayers in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Jamiaah. Parliament lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi was among the dead.
Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Baghdad's military operations command, confirmed the attack happened inside the Um al-Qura mosque during prayers in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Al-Jamiaah.
The blue-domed building is the largest Sunni mosque in Baghdad.
The attack hit Sunnis who were praying in a special service during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which ends Tuesday. It demonstrates anew that security measures to protect Iraqis as U.S. forces prepare to leave remain riddled with gaps, and shows the extent to which militants want to extend violence even as the eight-year- U.S. presence winds down.
That the bomber detonated his explosives vest inside the mosque is particularly alarming, because it is reminiscent of a 2006 attack on a Shiite shrine in the Sunni city of Samarra that fueled widespread sectarian violence and brought Iraq to the brink of civil war.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombing. Suicide bombings generally are a hallmark of al-Qaida, which is dominated by Sunnis.
The mosque's security is provided by the government-supported Sunni Endowment, and al-Moussawi raised the possibility that the bomber had inside help.
"For sure there must have been someone inside the mosque who helped the bomber," al-Moussawi said. "It must have been someone who is protecting the mosque."
On Saturday 33 people died across Iraq, including 24 that were incinerated on a bus carrying vacationing families through northern Iraq that collided head-on with a car.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.