Baghdad anti-Shia attacks kill at least eight

AFP , Tuesday 23 Oct 2012

Two days before Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Adha, Baghdad attacks targeting Shia neighborhoods kill eight and wound dozens

Residents inspect destroyed building at site of bomb attack in Chukook district, Baghdad, Tuesday (Photo: Reuters)

A car bomb and mortar attacks against predominantly Shia neighbourhoods in north Baghdad killed at least eight people Tuesday, days before the Muslim holiday of Eid.

The attacks, which also wounded at least a dozen people and damaged nearby cars and houses, struck the Chikouk and Shuala neighbourhoods at around 6:45 am (0345 GMT), days after deadly violence targeted another mostly-Shia district in the north of the capital.

Multiple mortars struck Chikouk while a car bomb detonated in Shuala, an interior ministry official said, putting the overall toll from the attacks at nine dead and 12 wounded.

A medical source said eight people were killed and 25 wounded, with women and children among the casualties. The medic warned that the toll could rise.

Conflicting casualty figures are common in the chaotic aftermath of violence in Iraq.

In Shuala, the car bomb badly damaged a wall of one house and shattered windows in nearby homes and cars, an AFP journalist said.

Security forces cordoned off the site of the attack, and barred reporters from filming or taking photographs.

"We were sleeping, and my daughter and son were preparing to go to school when the bomb went off," said Abu Ali the owner of the house that was worst hit by the car bomb.

"Thank God no one was in the kitchen, and no one in our family was badly hurt," he added, clad in a traditional Arab robe, or dishdasha. "Now, we are bringing the materials -- we have to rebuild the room."

Both neighbourhoods struck are majority Shia, while Chikouk is home to a camp for internally displaced persons, mostly Shia Muslims who fled largely Sunni areas during the worst of Iraq's confessional violence in 2006 and 2007.

The attacks come after 12 people were killed in nationwide violence on Saturday, with the deadliest incidents then also targeting a Shia area of north Baghdad.

The latest violence comes ahead of Friday's Eid al-Adha holiday. The days leading up to the annual holiday are often marked by a spike in violence.

Killings and assault are down sharply across Iraq from their peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks are still common, especially in Baghdad and Mosul. At least 250 people have been killed as a result of unrest in each of the past four months.

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