[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
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Assam officials upset that WWII-era Stillwell Road won't be used in transnational highway linking four Asian nations.
Informal health centres are treating thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey, easing the pressure on local hospitals.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Wastewater ponds dot the landscape in US states that produce gas; environmentalists say they’re a growing threat.
China President Xi Jinping's Mongolia visit brings accords in the areas of culture, energy, mining and infrastructure.
join our mailing list