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Bombs Target Shi'ite Worshippers In Baghdad, 27 Dead


(RFE/RL) -- A series of powerful bomb blasts has targeted Shi'ite Muslim worshippers as they emerged from mosques across Baghdad, killing at least 27 people and injuring more than 50.

They are the latest in a wave of attacks during the past two months that have mostly targeted Iraq's majority Shi'ite community. The violence has prompted fears that Al-Qaeda or other militants are trying to reignite the sectarian violence that swept the country in 2006 and 2007 and killed tens of thousands of people.

The six apparently coordinated explosions occurred outside of mosques and prayer centers in and around the Iraqi capital, including one that is frequented by followers of the radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The most deadly attack was a car bomb that targeted the Al-Shurufi Mosque in Al-Shaab, killing 21 people and injuring at least 35. Many of the worshipers at that mosque are loyal to al-Sadr and had been praying between the building and a parking lot when the bomb went off.

Witnesses say a car parked there had raised suspicions, and some worshippers were trying to alert police when the bomb exploded. In the aftermath, police cordoned off the area but faced verbal abuse from local residents, who blamed Iraqi security forces for not doing their job.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Interior Ministry says five people were killed and 15 injured by twin bombings at the Diyala bridge, about 10 kilometers south of Baghdad.

An attack in Baghdad's Zafaraniyah neighborhood killed one person. A separate attack in Al-Elam in western Baghdad injured four.

Another explosion killed a person at the Shi'ite Al-Nawab Mosque in the Kamaliyah neighborhood of northern Baghdad:

Violence has dropped markedly throughout Iraq in recent months. But attacks have increased in the run-up to a U.S. military withdrawal from urban centers, with 437 Iraqis killed in June -- the highest death toll in 11 months.

Attacks remain particularly common in Baghdad and the restive northern city of Mosul. On July 30, 11 people were killed in two separate attacks -- one against a political party's offices in Baquba, north of Baghdad, and another that targeted a police station near the Iraq-Syria border.

U.S. Army Colonel Tobin Green said more violence is expected ahead of Iraq's national elections, which are scheduled for January. He says security forces will have to be watchful of violence that targets politicians and political parties in the run-up to the vote.
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