Nine Killed in Iraq attacks
Two roadside bombs killed at least six people on the outskirts of Baghdad Friday while gunmen shot dead three policemen at a city checkpoint, officials said, in the latest in a wave of attacks in Iraq.
One bomb exploded in the main market in Al-Husseiniyah, a Shiite-majority area on Baghdad's northeast outskirts, while the second detonated after emergency personnel arrived, an interior ministry official said, putting the toll from the two blasts at six dead and 52 wounded.
A medical source at the Sheikh al-Dhari hospital said they had received eight bodies and more than 50 wounded from the blasts.
Meanwhile, gunmen with silenced weapons opened fire on a police checkpoint in Bayaa in south Baghdad killing three policemen, the interior ministry official said. A medical official confirmed the toll.
With the latest violence, at least 157 people have died in attacks in Iraq mainly targeting the Shiite community in the past 10 days -- more than the number of people killed during the entire month of May, according to official figures.
On June 13, 72 people were killed in a string of attacks across the country that were later claimed by Al-Qaeda's front group, the Islamic State of Iraq.
They included a car bomb that killed seven people on the outskirts of Kadhimiyah, the site of the shrine of Imam Musa Kadhim, a revered Shiite imam, and another blast in Karrada in central Baghdad in the middle of Shiite pilgrims' food tents that caused 16 fatalities.
Three days later, two car bombs targeting Shiites commemorating Imam Kadhim's death in 799 killed 32 people in Baghdad.
And on Monday, a suicide bomber killed 22 people in an attack on Shiite mourners in Baquba, north of Baghdad.
That attack came on the same day that Sami al-Massudi, the deputy head of the Shiite endowment which oversees Shiite religious sites in Iraq, said a roadside bomb hit his convoy in the Saidiyah area of south Baghdad, wounding three of his guards.
Along with the security forces, the Shiite majority has been a main target of Sunni Arab armed groups since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime.
In the years following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the country was swept by a wave of sectarian killings that pitted Shiites against minority Sunnis, in which tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed.
The violence was only brought under control when Sunni tribes turned against the insurgents and the US sent thousands of additional soldiers to Iraq.
While violence in Iraq has declined dramatically since its peak in 2006-2007, attacks remain common. A total of 132 Iraqis were killed in violence in May, according to official figures.