BAGHDAD – An Iraqi Sunni cleric says security forces have prevented worshippers from holding Friday prayers at a prominent Sunni mosque in northern Baghdad.
The move reflects sectarian tensions after more than two months of anti-government rallies by Sunnis.
Dawoud al-Alousi, the imam of Abu Hanifa mosque, said "sectarian conduct" of the security forces caused cancellation of the Friday prayer in the mosque, located in the primarily Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah.
Al-Alousi and witnesses say security forces blocked traffic on roads leading to the mosque. It was the first time prayers have been cancelled during the current unrest.
The protests in Sunni areas were sparked by the arrest of bodyguards assigned to Finance Minister Rafia al-Issawi in late December. Sunni protesters complain they suffer from discrimination by the Shiite-led government.