[QODLink]
Middle East

Dozens killed as mortars hit town in Iraq

At least 22 people die when three mortar rounds strike crowded market in flashpoint area.

Last updated: 21 Feb 2014 05:56
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A mortar attack has struck a busy area in a mainly Shia town south of Iraq's capital, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 50, authorities said.

The five mortar rounds slammed into a busy market, a residential building and a parking lot around 7pm local time as people returned home from work and shopped in the town of Mussayab, police and hospital officials said.

Police said it appeared the rounds came from the nearby Sunni-dominated town of Jurf al-Sakr, though it wasn't immediately clear who fired them.

The officials gave the casualty toll and details of the incident on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release information to journalists.

Mussayab, about 60km south of Baghdad, is in an area that holds a mix of Sunnis and Shias and has been a flashpoint for some of the worst sectarian violence in recent years.

On Tuesday, a parked car bomb in the town killed five civilians and wounded 13, authorities said.

In 2009, a female suicide bomber targeted Shia pilgrims there, killing at least 40 people.

Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, but Sunni fighters frequently target Shia areas and security forces.

Violence has increased in Iraq amid Sunni anger over perceived mistreatment and random arrests by the Shia-led government.

Last year, Iraq saw the highest death toll - 8,868 - since the worst of the country's sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007, according to United Nations figures.

240

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Western fighters have streamed into the Middle East to help 'liberate' Arab countries such as Syria and Libya.
The Pakistani government is proposing reform of the nation's madrassas, which are accused of fostering terrorism.
Weaving and handicrafts are being re-taught to a younger generation of Iraqi Kurds, but not without challenges.
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Featured
Up to 23,000 federal prisoners could qualify for clemency under new Justice Department initiative.
After years of rapid growth, Argentina is bracing for another economic crisis as inflation eats up purchasing power.
Deaths of 13 Sherpas in Nepal has shone a light on dangerous working conditions in the Everest-climbing industry.
Al Jazeera investigation uncovers allegations of beatings and rape in Kenya's ongoing anti-terrorism operation.
Incumbent Joyce Banda has a narrow lead, but anything is possible in Malawi's May 20 elections.
join our mailing list