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Iraq: Deadly attacks kill 23, wound 113, mainly Shi'a Muslims


BAGHDAD, (Xinhua): A series of massive bombings and shootings in Iraq, mainly targeting Shiites and Iraqi security forces, on Thursday killed 23 people and wounded some 113 others.

The deadliest attack occurred in the morning in the central part of the town of al-Dujail, some 60 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, when twin car bombings struck Shiite pilgrims outside a mosque, killing up to nine people and wounding some 81 others, a provincial police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The attackers apparently followed an old tactic which creates an initial explosion to attract security forces and people to the site of the blast and minutes later sets off another blast at the scene to cause heavier casualties, the source said.

Earlier, the source put the toll at seven killed and 25 wounded by the two car bombings.

The predominantly Shiite town of Dujail is part of the Sunni- dominated province of Salahudin. Its provincial capital of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of the former President Saddam Hussein.

Meanwhile, at least five people were killed and 10 wounded when another car bomb exploded near al-Qasim Football Stadium in the southern part of Hilla city, the capital of Babil province, some 100 km south of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Another car bomb detonated at a parking lot near the Shiite holy mausoleum of Imam Uon, just north of the holy city of Karbala, some 110 km southwest of Baghdad, a local police source anonymously told Xinhua.

The blast killed a civilian and wounded 17 people, including four Pakistani Shiite pilgrims, the source said.

Earlier the source put the toll at 17 wounded by the blast.

Elsewhere, gunmen shot dead a police officer at a garage in the central part of the city of Tuz-Khurmaro, some 200 km north of Baghdad. The attackers were chased by a police force and exchanged fire with them and two gunmen were killed, a local police source said.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, three people were killed and two wounded in three roadside bomb explosions across the province during the day, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

In addition, two people were killed and three wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in the Shiite district of al-Husseinliyah in the northeastern part of Baghdad.

The attack came a day after a series of massive bombings and shootings in the northern and central part of the country, which killed a total of 31 people and wounded more than 250.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but observers see that the latest waves of violence was an attempt by insurgent groups to stir up sectarian strife among Iraqis, raising fears that the country could be brought back to widespread violence, particularly as Iraq is trying to avoid the spillover of violence from the ongoing conflict in the neighboring Syria.

Al-Qaida front in Iraq frequently claimed the responsibility of most deadly attacks in the country, raising fears that the terrorist group could return to widespread violence.

Violence in Iraq has ebbed from its climax in 2006 and 2007, when sectarian conflicts pushed the country to the brink of a civil war, but tensions, shootings and bombings are still common across the country.

Editor: Wang Yuanyuan

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