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AFP | June 18, 2011

 

TRIPOLI, Lebanon — Soldiers deployed in force in Lebanon’s main northern city Tripoli Saturday after seven people were killed in clashes between Alawites and Sunnis over a rally against the Syrian government.

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By Ernesto Londoño and Zaid Sabah, Washington Post Foreign Service

BAGHDAD, April 22 — A suicide bomber burst into a mosque north of Baghdad on Wednesday evening and detonated explosives near worshipers, killing at least five, Iraqi authorities and witnesses said.

Shortly after the attack in Duluiyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad, residents poured into the streets to denounce al-Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni insurgent group that held sway there until locals, backed by the U.S. military, drove it out in 2007.

“All the people in Duluiyah rushed to the mosque yelling and cursing al-Qaeda,” said Shaalan al-Jubory, a spokesman for the local paramilitary group formed to fight the insurgents.

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By Agence France-Presse

The most common cause of death for civilians in the first five years of the Iraq war was execution after being kidnapped, according to a report published Wednesday by an independent casualties monitor.

Iraq Body Count (IBC), a group supported by researchers from the United States and Britain, said that such killings accounted for 33 percent of all civilian deaths in the five years after the 2003 US-led invasion.

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By Associated Press

Anger boiled over in Baghdad streets at Iraqi soldiers and police after they failed to prevent a stunning series of coordinated bombings across the city Monday that left 37 dead and more than 100 wounded. Iraq’s government blamed the attacks on supporters of Saddam Hussein “in cooperation with the al-Qaida terrorist organization” and suggested the blasts were timed for Tuesday’s anniversary of the founding of the late dictator’s Baath party.

The attacks, which one Interior Ministry official called the worst breach of security in Baghdad this year, occurred as the U.S. military is drawing down its forces in the capital. Some Iraqis pondered whether their own soldiers and police can maintain order if Shiite-Sunni violence flares again once the Americans have gone.

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By CNN News

Iraqi security forces and Awakening Council members clashed Saturday in Baghdad, leaving two civilians dead, 13 other people wounded, and five Iraqi soldiers kidnapped, a military official told CNN.

The incident started after Adel al-Mashhadani — the leader of the Fadhil Awakening Council in northern Baghdad — and an aide were arrested by members of the Iraqi army and U.S. military, said Qassim Atta of the Baghdad military command.

Atta said that council members opened fire on Iraqi security forces after the arrest and security forces fired back. The 13 wounded included four soldiers. Authorities said council members kidnapped the five soldiers.

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By BBC

Suicide bombers have killed at least 47 people and wounded about 240 in attacks on crowds in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk.

Three blasts in Baghdad killed at least 25 Shia Muslim pilgrims heading for the city’s Kadhimiya shrine.

The attacks, which wounded about 90 people, were carried out by women suicide bombers, police said.

In Kirkuk, a suicide bomber targeted a crowd of Kurdish protesters, killing at least 22 and injuring at least 150.

Kirkuk is disputed between Kurds, Arabs and Turkomans.

Demonstrators were protesting at a proposed law on local elections which has raised tensions there.

Heavy security

In Baghdad, the bombers struck as pilgrims passed through the central Karrada district on their way to the shrine of the revered 8th-Century imam, Musa al-Kadhim.

The city has been under heavy security because of the annual Shia pilgrimage.

Women and children were among those killed, security and hospital officials told AFP news agency

The BBC’s Jim Muir in Baghdad says that major gatherings for Shia religious ceremonies have frequently been the target for bomb attacks, blamed on Sunni extremists.

Such attacks were a feature of the cycle of sectarian violence that gripped Iraq last year.

The attacks have been greatly reduced by US and Iraqi government forces taking action against Sunni-based insurgents on the one hand, and the Shia militias on the other.

But our correspondent says that stopping suicide bombers who move among crowds on foot, especially women wearing voluminous clothing, is particularly difficult.

The pilgrimage will reach a climax on Tuesday and more than a million worshippers are expected.

he Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig Gen Qassim al-Moussawi, told AP news agency that 100,000 Iraqi security forces were being deployed – along with US reinforcements and air support – to protect the ceremonies in Kadhimiya.

Security forces are using about 200 women volunteers to search female pilgrims, AP said.

Despite the extra security, gunmen also shot dead seven pilgrims in the southern outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday.

The attacks come after an overall drop in the level of violence in Iraq in recent months.

Analysts says that radical Sunni groups – including al-Qaeda – have an added incentive to try to show it is not a spent force after being weakened in the Sunni heartland north and west of Baghdad.

However, violence in Kirkuk has a different dynamic, with an ongoing power struggle between the city’s three main ethnic groups.

Despite the bombings in Baghdad, some Shia pilgrims said they were determined to continue with the ceremonies.

“Today we are going to visit the holy Shrine of Imam Kadhim. We pay no heed to bombings and death. We are believing in God,” said Jassim Jihad.

In 2005 more than 900 people died in a stampede on the route to the shrine. The panic had been started by rumours of a suicide bomber in the crowd.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7528117.stm

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