[QODLink]
Middle East
Iraqis killed in suspected sectarian attacks
Blasts near Shia Muslim shrine in Baghdad and targeted shootings elsewhere leave at least 17 people dead.
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2012 00:09
Violence has ebbed in Iraq since 2005-2008, but Summi fighters still frequently attack mainly Shia areas [Reuters]

Back-to-back bomb blasts in a crowded Baghdad market near a revered Shia Muslim shrine and several shootings targeting government officials have killed at least 17 people.

The bombings, which happened within about a minute of each other on Saturday, appeared to be aimed at intimidating Iraq's Shia community, who are a frequent target of Sunni fighters.

Police said at least 11 people were killed and 35 were wounded in the blasts.

The blasts struck about 500 metres from a shrine where two revered imams are buried, damaging nearby shops and buildings, according to police, who confirmed the casualty figures.

The attacks came as many shoppers were out buying new clothes in anticipation of the Eid al-Adha holiday, which begins in about a week.

Follow in-depth coverage of the nation in flux

"When I came out, I saw burning carts and merchant stalls, and children crying and women screaming out of fear. The whole place was full of panic."

Earlier in the day, armed men had opened fire on a police patrol in the Shia neighbourhood of al-Shaab, killing two policemen and wounding another.

Authorities also said assailants shot dead a police lieutenant-colonel who worked with the State Identity Directorate late on Friday in Baghdad's Karradah district.

Hospital officials confirmed the deaths in the attacks.

Checkpoint attacked

Near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, armed men attacked a police checkpoint and killed three officers, according to two police officials.

Assailants also shot and killed a prison official in a drive-by-shooting during the morning rush hour in eastern Baghdad, Haider al-Saadi, just ministry spokesman, said.

Violence has ebbed in Iraq since the peak of the bloodletting in 2005-2008, but fighters still frequently attack predominantly Shia Muslim areas, government officials and security forces in an attempt to undermine the Shia-led government.

Saturday's attacks marked Iraq's deadliest day since September 30, when a string of coordinated blasts that hit Shia neighborhoods and struck at Iraqi security forces left at least 26 dead.

330

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.