Middle East News
At least six killed in attacks across Iraq (Roundup)
Feb 8, 2009, 14:46 GMT
Baghdad - A string of attacks, including three consecutive blasts in Baghdad, left at least six Iraqis dead on Sunday, local media reported.
The first blast injured two civilians on a main thoroughfare in Baghdad's al-Karada district early in the morning, police sources told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency.
Soon after, an explosion killed an Iraqi man and wounded at least 14 other civilians in the western Baghdad district of al-Qahira, the news agency reported.
That blast was quickly followed by a car bomb in the Mansour district of western Baghdad. At least four people were injured.
In Baquba, the capital of the ethnically divided Diyala province, at least two Iraqi soldiers died and five were wounded after a bomb exploded as their patrol was passing through the district of al- Maqdadiya.
That attack followed an bomb explosion in the al-Sadiya district of the city. At least one Iraqi soldier died in the blast and an unknown number were injured, a security spokesman told VOI.
Baquba, 60 kilometres northeast of Baghdad, has been the site of intense fighting between Shiite and Sunni militias and international forces since the US-led invasion in 2003.
Still further north, in an apparently unrelated incident on Sunday, unknown gunmen killed an Iraqi policemen and captured another, along with his father, local media reported.
The gunmen seized the two from the Sinjar district of Iraq's ethnically divided Nineveh province, not far from the border with Syria, 120 kilometres west of Mosul, the provincial capital, and 400 kilometres north of Baghdad.
The area, while predominantly Sunni, is among the most ethnically diverse in Iraq. Most Sunnis boycotted the 2005 provincial council elections, but preliminary results from January's elections announced Thursday showed the Sunni nationalist Hadba coalition, founded on a platform to end Kurdish rule over the province, with a commanding showing of 48.4 per cent of the vote.
To the south of Baghdad, a female pilgrim died of gunshot wounds on Sunday, a day after US forces 'unintentionally' fired their weapons in southern Iraq. A second pilgrim was shot at the time.
A statement on the website of the Multi-National Forces in Iraq said the two Iraqis were shot after US soldiers 'unintentionally' fired their guns on Saturday in the Iraqi province of Diwaniyah, 200 kilometres south of Baghdad.
But the statement stopped short of accepting responsibility for the civilian casualties.
'It is unclear whether the weapons discharge and injuries are directly connected,' the statement said.
Local media reported that the man and woman were pilgrims walking to the southern province of Karabla, 100 kilometres south of Baghdad, to attend 'the Arbaine of the Imam Hussein,' an important holy day in the Shiite religious calendar.
'Arbaine,' or 'forty' in Arabic, marks the 40th day after the Shiite holy day of Ashura, when the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Hussein, was killed in the Battle of Karbala 1,329 years ago. His death denied him the leadership of the expanding empire that Shiites believe was his due.
Millions of Shiites wear black on the Arbaine and march to Karbala to mourn Hussein's death.
Securing the religious ceremony, when emotions run high and which has special importance in the divide between Sunni and Shiite Islam, remains a challenge for Iraqi and international forces.