Suicide attacker kills 29 inside largest Sunni mosque

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside Baghdad’s largest Sunni mosque Sunday night, killing 29 people during prayers, a shocking strike on a place of worship similar to the one that brought Iraq to the brink of civil war five years ago.

Iraqi security officials said parliament lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi, a Sunni, was among the dead in the 9:40 p.m attack.

Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Baghdad’s military operations command, confirmed the bombing 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.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombing, but suicide attacks generally are a hallmark of al-Qaida, which is dominated by Sunnis. Intelligence officials have speculated that al-Qaida will do almost anything to re-ignite sectarian violence, but the group recently had focused on attacking Iraqi security forces and the government to prove how unstable Iraq remains.


Going-away party prepared for Happy Feet the penguin

New Zealanders were preparing Sunday to say farewell to Happy Feet, the emperor penguin that washed up sick and starving on a beach more than 1,800 miles from his Antarctic home.

Wellington Zoo, which has nursed him back to health in the 10 weeks since he came ashore, arranged a farewell party before he heads back to his freezing natural habitat today. He will leave the city on a fisheries research ship bound for Antarctic waters, where he is to be released later in the week.

The bird, nicknamed Happy Feet after the 2006 animated film of that name, was found disoriented and eating sand apparently thinking it was snow, on a west coast beach 40 miles north of Wellington on June 21.

— From news service reports