11 killed in Iraq violence

A drive-by shooting killed a Shiite baker heading to work in Baghdad today, and the bullet-ridden bodies of four Iraqis were found in the capital.

The killings occurred in three areas of Baghdad with mixed populations of majority Shiites and minority Sunni Arabs, and appeared to be part of rising sectarian violence in Iraq.

Five Iraqi policemen and a civilian also died in two attacks outside the capital.

The baker, Nadil Adel Ashor, was killed outside his home by unidentified gunmen in a speeding car in Dora, southern Baghdad, said police 1st Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq. Yesterday, armed men broke into another bakery in Dora and killed two Shiite workers.

Four bullet-riddled bodies were found in three different Sunni-Shiite districts of the capital by Iraqi police today, the day of worship in mostly Muslim Iraq: one in Dora; one in Mansour, western Baghdad; and two in Rustomia, eastern Baghdad. Police said the identities of the victims and the motives behind the killings were not immediately known.

At 7.30am, a roadside bomb aimed at a US military patrol exploded in Dora, missing its target, but wounding two Iraqi civilians who were driving nearby, said Abdul-Razzaq. A US Army official confirmed that the attack had missed the American soldiers.

Three Iraqi policemen also were wounded by a roadside bomb that hit their patrol this morning in Baghdad’s western neighbourhood of Yarmouk, said Abdul-Razzaq. When police and witnesses rushed to the scene a second bomb exploded.

Elsewhere in the capital, a roadside bomb hit a passing Iraqi police patrol in Qadissiya, south-western Baghdad, wounding six officers, said Abdul-Razzaq.

In Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad, a drive-by shooting killed a policeman walking on a street of the city, police said.

In Mosul, 225 miles northwest of the Iraqi capital, four policemen were killed when their patrol hit a roadside bomb, police said. Two policemen and a bystander were wounded. Another roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi military patrol in Mosul, killing one civilian and injuring two soldiers and a nearby policeman, said police.

Yesterday, at least 13 people were killed in scattered violence in Iraq, including the two Shiite workers who were gunned down in the Dora bakery. Other fatalities were three civilians shot by unidentified gunmen in the southern city of Basra, police said, and an insurgent who was killed by US forces in Baqouba, 35 miles north-east of Baghdad, according to American Sgt. Joel Peavy.

Sectarian tensions have been running high in Iraq since the February 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, and the reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques and clerics that followed.

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