Motorcycle bomb kills 11 in Iraq mosque

Eleven people were killed and at least nine injured when a motorcycle bomb exploded in the courtyard of a Baghdad mosque this evening.

Eleven people were killed and at least nine injured when a motorcycle bomb exploded in the courtyard of a Baghdad mosque this evening.

The blast came on a day of mostly sectarian violence across Iraq which left a total of 41 dead, according to officials.

It was unclear who carried out the attack on the Shiite mosque in the mixed Tunis neighbourhood of northern Baghdad, but it bore the markings of the sectarian violence that has been tormenting the country.

The mosque is near the Sunni Arab stronghold of Azamiyah and Lt Col Falah al-Mohamedawi of the Interior Ministry said it occurred a couple hours before 11pm Baghdad curfew.

An hour later, police said a roadside bomb exploded outside a bakery in southeast Baghdad, killing three bystanders and wounding 12.

Another five people died earlier when a car bomb exploded at the entrance to a police station in Baghdad’s biggest Shiite neighbourhood.

Violence has been steady around Iraq and dozens have died almost every day in the weeks leading up to the formation of Iraq’s new unity government, which many hope will eventually provide Iraq with enough security to allow the withdrawal of United States and British troops.

The swearing in Saturday of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s new government again brought to the forefront the possibility that some foreign troops could start packing for home within months, an idea quickly shot down in Washington.

“We’re not going to sort of look at our watches and say, oop, time to go,” presidential spokesman Tony Snow said.

Al-Maliki reportedly spent much of the day at his office in the heavily fortified Green Zone meeting with advisers and discussing possible candidates for the defence and interior ministries – two key posts that did not get permanent appointments when the government took office.

Al-Maliki has vowed to used maximum force against those responsible for the daily violence, which was unabated today.

In Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, gunmen attacked a city councillor and, in the ensuing firefight, two gunmen and a bodyguard were killed, police said.

The US military said it had killed a number of insurgents during a joint operation with Iraqi soldiers in Samarra. It said Monday’s raid resulted “in the deaths and detention of several terrorist operatives,” but did not provide a number.

It added that “a young girl – a daughter of one of the terrorists – was inadvertently killed by Coalition Forces” during the raid. The military said it regretted the death and that the unit commander would conduct an investigation.

A car bomb exploded in the late afternoon and killed five people and injured 16 outside a police station in Baghdad’s Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite district in northeast Baghdad, police said.

Earlier, gunmen killed four ironsmiths and wounded one as they were riding a pickup truck to work in northern Mosul, police said.

In another drive-by shooting, attackers killed three Iraqi day labourers and wounded four as they drove by a minibus to work at a farm near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Police said the casualties, all majority Shiites, appeared to be the latest victims of sectarian attacks by minority Sunni Arabs in Diyala province.

A few hours later, gunmen in a car killed three Iraqi men standing near a house in Baqouba, police said. A school teacher was also gunned down in northern Kirkuk.

In New Baghdad, a bomb killed two police commandos and three civilians. The attack, which damaged nearby shops and cars, also wounded eight Iraqis: five commandos and three civilians.

A roadside bomb hit a minibus carrying workers to a textile factory in western Baghdad, killing one and wounding three others, said police 1st Lt. Maithem Abdel-Razaq

In western Baghdad, a drive-by shooting killed one of the many vendors who sell cigarettes from small wooden stands alongside streets in the capital. A roadside bomb also damaged one Humvee in a US convoy in Dora, one of Baghdad’s most violent areas, and an Iraqi woman and a child were wounding in gunfire that followed.

A mortar shell landed near the heavily fortified Green Zone, wounding four civilians and damaging three cars, police said. The Green Zone, where Iraq’s government meets and the US and British embassies are based, is a frequent target of such attacks.

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