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Suicide Bombers Kill 16 At Baghdad Mosques

A shoe lies on the ground near the site of a suicide bomb at a mosque in New Baghdad.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Suicide bombers have struck Shi'ite worshippers gathering to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fasting month in Baghdad, killing 16 and wounding nearly 60, an Iraqi government security spokesman said.

A suicide car bomber killed 10 and wounded 31 at a Shi'ite assembly hall in the Zafaraniyah district, and a teenage boy blew himself up at a mosque in New Baghdad, killing six and wounding 26, said Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim Mussawi.

Both districts are Shi'ite areas in the east of the capital. The death tolls could rise, police said.

It was the second major spate of bombings in the capital in recent days apparently linked to the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking Ramadan's end, one of the main celebrations in the Islamic year when Muslims attend mosque services and family feasts.

In the Zafaraniyah strike, the bomber drove a Mercedes into an Iraqi police vehicle guarding a well-protected area around the mosque and triggered the explosion, Mussawi said.

In New Baghdad, a poor Shi'ite suburb of high-rise apartments, witnesses described the bomber as a boy of about 14 years old who stepped into a crowd and blew himself up, Mussawi said.

Government officials had warned that militants might strike during the holiday.

For most of Iraq's Shi'a October 2 is the main celebration of the holiday, which Sunni Muslims began observing earlier in the week. The government has declared a public holiday over six days to cover all sects.

Violence overall in Iraq is at four-year lows and militants no longer control large numbers of villages and city districts as they did until 2007. But militant cells are still active and able to carry out bomb attacks.

On September 28, a spate of four bombs killed at least 32 people in Baghdad, many of them out buying Eid al-Fitr gifts in the busy Karrada shopping district.

RFE/RL Iraq Report

RFE/RL Iraq Report

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