The Wall Street Journal reports: Officials attempting to form a unity government in Iraq sought to quell sectarian tensions on Saturday by sending a team of investigators to the scene of an attack a day earlier on a Sunni mosque that killed scores and is suspected to have been carried out by Shiite militia men.
Investigators, parliamentarians and military officials arrived at the scene of the massacre in Diyala province, in an apparent response to demands by Sunni politicians that the perpetrators of the attack be quickly identified and brought to justice.
The move was seen as an attempt to salvage a delicate political process to form a new, more inclusive government, as Iraq faces a violent insurgency led by Sunni militants calling themselves the Islamic State that has seized large parts of the country.
Officials from Iraq’s Health Ministry said on Saturday that the death toll from Friday’s attack had risen to 70. While Sunni figures in Diyala, a province about 100 miles northeast of Baghdad, said the attack was carried out by Shiite gunmen, authorities in Iraq’s central government said the identities of perpetrators were being investigated. The security committee in the restive province suggested the massacre was conducted by members of the Islamic State in an effort to drive a wedge between Sunnis and Shiites as the groups seek reconciliation.
As the investigation began, in a separate incident a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into an Interior Ministry intelligence building in Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 35, according to Iraqi officials. [Continue reading…]