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29 Iraqis Killed, 36 Injured in Sectarian and Anti-Government Attacks

December 19, 2013

Site of a suicide bombing in Baghdad's southern district of Dora, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013  

25 killed in insurgent attacks across Iraq

BAGHDAD, December 19, 2013 (Xinhua) --

A suicide bombing targeting Shiite pilgrims in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and other attacks by gunmen killed 25 people and wounded 36 others across the country on Thursday, police said.

The deadliest attack occurred around noon when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive vest among a procession of Shiite pilgrims walking on a highway in Doura district in the southern part of Baghdad, killing 17 pilgrims and wounding 35 others, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The pilgrims were heading to the holy Shiite city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad, to observe the Arba'een religious ritual ahead of its climax day next Tuesday.

Arba'een is the 40th day after the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein, Prophet Muhammad's grandson and the third holy figure for the Shiite Muslim sect, who was killed in the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.

Insurgents frequently attacked Shiite pilgrims who perform communal rituals in the Iraqi cities, killing and wounding hundreds of them in attempts to provoke sectarian strife in the violence-shattered country.

In western Baghdad, gunmen broke into the house of a leader of a government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group in Abu Ghraib area, some 25 km west of Baghdad, and shot dead him, his wife and three of his sons, a police source told Xinhua.

In northern Iraq, a police chief of Nineveh's provincial police, escaped with wounds and one of his guards was killed by gunmen attack on his convoy in central the city of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, a provincial police anonymously source told Xinhua.

Also in Nineveh province, a policeman was shot dead in front of his house in the town of Shora, some 40 km south of Mosul, the source said.

Elsewhere, another policeman was shot dead by gunmen in the city of Shirqat, some 280 km north of Baghdad, a local police source said.

Many Iraqis are worried about a resurgence of violence, ethnic and sectarian strife that nearly tore the country apart few years ago.

Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, 8,109 Iraqis were killed in the country from January to November this year.

Editor: Shen Qing

Attacks on Shiite Pilgrims, Others Kill 29 in Iraq

BAGHDAD December 19, 2013

(AP) By SAMEER N. YACOUB Associated Press

Suicide bombings targeting Shiite pilgrims around Iraq's capital on their way to a holy city and other violence across the country killed 29 people Thursday, officials said.

One suicide bomber set off his explosive belt near a group of pilgrims in Baghdad's southern district of Dora, killing 14 people and wounding 28, police said. Another blew himself up among pilgrims in Youssifiyah, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Baghdad, killing eight and wounding 28 shortly after sunset, officials said.

The pilgrims were heading to the holy Shiite city of Karbala, 90 kilometers (55 miles) to the south. Shiite pilgrims are commemorating Arba'een, the end of 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, Imam Hussein, a revered Shiite figure.

Hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims make their way every year to Karbala for Arba'een. Al-Qaida and Sunni Muslim insurgents frequently target the Shiites, whom they consider to be infidels. Iraqi security forces also often poorly protect Shiite marches to holy cities.

Meanwhile Thursday, gunmen wearing military uniforms broke into the home of a former member of anti-al-Qaida Sunni militia in Baghdad's western suburb of Abu Ghraib, killing him, his wife, his two children and his brother-in-law, a police officer said. The officer said the attack wounded two other children.

The Sunni militia, known as Sahwa, joined forces with U.S. forces during the height of Iraq's sectarian conflict to fight al-Qaida. Ever since it has been a target for Sunni insurgents who consider its members traitors.

Also, police said a roadside bombing killed two soldiers and wounded four in the village of Mishahda, just north of Baghdad.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.

Associated Press writer Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.

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