At least eight people have been killed and dozens more injured in two separate attacks targeting mosques north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
According to Iraqi police, seven people were killed after mortars hit a mosque in the town of Khalis, 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, as worshippers were leavening the mosque following the Friday Prayers. The attack also left 14 people injured and destroyed part of the mosque. A bomb also exploded inside a mosque in Kirkuk, killing two persons and injuring 12 others. The attacks come a day before Iraq’s provincial elections and a day after at least 27 people were killed in a bomb attack on a cafe in the Iraqi capital. Violence has increased in Iraq this week in the run-up to the elections, despite heightened security. A total of 14 election candidates have been already murdered. Iraq's provincial elections are due to be held in 12 of the country's 18 provinces and soldiers and policemen cast their ballots for the elections on Saturday, a week ahead of the main vote. More than 8,000 candidates have registered to compete for the 378 seats up for grab and an estimated 16.2 million Iraqis are eligible to vote.