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Middle east

Series of deadly blasts leave 19 dead, dozens wounded


Latest update : 2009-08-30

A spate of attacks across Iraq on Saturday killed 19 people and injured dozens in the worst day of violence in the country since the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

AFP - A spate of attacks across Iraq on Saturday killed 19 people, including a local politician and a child, and injured dozens, making it the country's deadliest day since Ramadan began.
In the worst incident, five policemen and three civilians, including a 10-year-old child, died when a suicide car bomber targeted a police base in Al-Sharqat, north of Tikrit, officials said.
At least 20 people, 13 police among them, were wounded in the morning attack, the local police chief said.
Hours later, four people were killed and 23 others injured when a bomb exploded at a market in Sinjar, a town near the Syrian border and west of the restive northern city of Mosul.
A high-ranking official at Sinjar hospital said the four dead were a man and his son, another man and another child.
"The casualties include women and children," added Elias Kheder, a local authority official.
Around 70 percent of the population of Sinjar are members of the ancient Yazidi religious sect.
On August 13, 21 people were killed and 32 wounded when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a packed cafe in the town.
Two years ago, more than 400 Yazidis were slaughtered when four suicide truck bombs targeted two northern villages in the deadliest attack since the US-led invasion of 2003.
Yazidis number several hundred thousand and live mostly in northern Iraq. They speak a dialect of Kurdish, and follow a pre-Islamic religion and their own cultural traditions.
Their main focus of worship is Malak Taus, the chief of the archangels. Followers of other religions know this angel as Lucifer or Satan, leading to popular prejudice that the secretive Yazidis are devil-worshippers.
Another attack on Saturday killed a local politician and a passer-by in Fallujah.
A bomb placed under the car of Khaled Ghanam al-Zawbari, head of the local branch of the al-Dustour party, exploded after he left a mosque following prayers, police said.
Meanwhile, an attack by gunmen on a police checkpoint east of Baquba, in Diyala province, killed one officer and one civilian. Four police were wounded.
And in Baghdad, an off-duty soldier was killed and three people wounded, including a fellow soldier, in Adhamiyah, a Sunni neighbourhood in the north of the capital, an interior ministry official said.
The same source said two civilians were killed and 13 more wounded when a booby-trapped motorbike blew up in Baghdad Jadida district in the east of the city.
Despite a reduction in violence in the past year, attacks on security forces and civilians remain common nationwide, including in Baghdad, the restive northern city of Mosul and in the ethnically divided oil hub of Kirkuk.
Two devastating truck bombings at the ministries of finance and foreign affairs in Baghdad on August 19 killed 95 people and wounded about 600.
Iraq accused neighbouring Syria of harbouring the masterminds of the finance ministry attack and recalled its ambassador from Damascus.
Syria retaliated within hours by ordering back its envoy from Baghdad.

Date created : 2009-08-29