Bombs kill 23 across Iraq as sectarian strife grows

Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:16pm EST
 
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By Kareem Raheem

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - At least 23 people were killed and 87 wounded in attacks across Iraq on Monday, police said, underlining sectarian and ethnic divisions that threaten to further destabilize the country a year after U.S. troops left.

Tensions between Shi'ite, Kurdish and Sunni factions in Iraq's power-sharing government have been on the rise this year. Militants strike almost daily and have staged at least one big attack a month.

The latest violence followed more than a week of protests against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki by thousands of people from the minority Sunni community.

No group claimed responsibility for any of Monday's attacks, which targeted government officials, police patrols and members of both the Sunni and Shi'ite communities.

Seven people from the same Sunni family were killed by a bomb planted near their home in the town of Mussayab, south of Baghdad.

In the Shi'ite majority city of Hilla, also in the south, a parked car bomb went off near the convoy of the governor of Babil province, missing him but killing two other people, police said.

"We heard the sound of a big explosion and the windows of our office shattered. We immediately lay on the ground," said 28-year-old Mohammed Ahmed, who works at a hospital near the site of the explosion.

"After a few minutes I stood up and went to the windows to see what happened. I saw flames and people lying on the ground."   Continued...

 
An Iraqi Kurd Asaish stands near the site of a car bomb attack in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, December 31, 2012. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed