[QODLink]
Middle East

Suicide attacks kill dozens in Iraq

String of attacks targets Shia pilgrims ahead of a major holy day next week, police said.

Last updated: 19 Dec 2013 20:49
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Suicide bombings in Iraq have killed at least 36 people in attacks targeting Shia pilgrims ahead of a major holy day next week, police said.

Two years after US troops withdrew from Iraq, violence is at its highest level since 2006-7, when strife between Sunnis and Shi'ites killed tens of thousands of people.

The first major attack of the day came when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a funeral tent, killing at least 16 Shia pilgrims and wounding 31 in southern Baghdad's mainly Sunni neighbourhood of Doura, police sources said.

A former Reuters reporter, Mohanad Mohammed, and his son were among those killed in the blast, a family member said.
Another bomber set himself off near Latifiya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, amid a group of Shia pilgrims of the ethnic Turkmen group who were coming from Kirkuk in the north, killing nine, medics and security sources said.

A third suicide bomb went off in Latifiya, killing another 11 people.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were the latest in a series targeting Shia civilians and government buildings.

Resurgent violence

The attacks have killed scores of people just days before Arbaeen, which commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Hussein, a major figure in Shia Islam.

Many Shia pilgrims are making their way on foot to the Shia city of Karbala, south of Baghdad, ahead of the ritual.

Shia are considered apostates by Sunni armed groups, whose resurgence is blamed by the government partly on the impact of the increasingly sectarian war in neighbouring Syria.

In a separate incident, gunmen raided the home of a government-backed Sunni "Sahwa" militia leader in western Baghdad, shooting him dead alongside his wife and two of his children, police said.

The Sahwa militias fought al-Qaeda with US troops in Sunni areas from 2006 to 2008, and are viewed as supporters of the Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

 

311

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.