Friday prayers have been anything but peaceful in Iraq with violence claiming lives across the country. A sudden curfew was slapped on the capital after clashes broke out between Sunni insurgents and Shi’ite militias. North of Baghdad, at least 10 worshippers were killed in a bomb blast outside a Sunni mosque. It happened in Hibhib, the same village where a US air strike killed Iraq’s al Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, earlier this month. Further south, a car bomb killed five people at a petrol station in Basra, according to hospital sources. Earlier, police said 10 died in the blast. Today’s casualty toll underscores the challenges Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki faces in easing violence that has pushed the country to the brink of civil war.As part of Iraq’s national reconciliation drive, the US military today released around 500 prisoners from Abu Ghraib jail – most from the Sunni Arab minority. The premier is set to present a national reconciliation bill to parliament on Sunday.