BAGHDAD -- At least 66 people were killed in bomb blasts in Iraq on Friday, officials said, making it one of the bloodiest days this year as the country struggles to contain spiraling sectarian violence.
Two bombs exploded in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province, a turbulent region whose population is a mix of Sunni and Shiite Muslims. One of the bombs exploded at the edge of a bridge near a Sunni mosque where worshipers had gathered for Friday Prayer. Within minutes, after a crowd of people ran to help the wounded, another bomb exploded in their midst. Officials said 40 people were killed and 46 were wounded in the two blasts.
The Saraya mosque, where the blasts took place, is one of the main mosques where Sunnis in Baquba pray and hear speeches to support protests in Anbar and other Sunni provinces calling for change in the Shiite-dominated government.
"Where is my brother?" shouted Thirgham Ahmed, 26, who was wounded in his legs and back, as he searched for a brother whom he later found dead. "If I lose him, I lose my life," Mr. Ahmed said.
In the Baquba hospital, a woman who was identified as Um Ahmed wailed over the deaths of her husband and nephew.
"I don't want my life anymore. Where is your soul now?" she said.
In another attack, south of Baghdad in Baladiyat, an improvised explosive device blew up near a funeral tent, killing 7 civilians and wounding 28 people in all, the police said. Also, 19 people were killed when a roadside bomb exploded near a commercial complex in the Amiriya district of western Baghdad, Reuters reported.
The last time the casualty figures stacked up so high on one day was when a series of bombings on March 19 killed 57 people in the Baghdad area. At least 42 people were killed in gun battles that erupted on April 23 in cities across Iraq that have Sunni majorities.
The attacks on Friday also brought to a close a particularly violent week. Car bombs exploded in Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad on Thursday, part of a series of attacks in the capital and elsewhere that left at least 21 people dead, officials said in a report by The Associated Press. And on Wednesday, bombings in Shiite areas of Baghdad and in northern Iraq killed more than 35 people, after weeks of violence by Sunni Islamist insurgents who are determined to set off sectarian confrontations, Reuters reported.world
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.