Five killed in Iraq attacks on police, Iran pilgrims

BAGHDAD - Two policemen and three members of a police officer’s family were killed while 12 Iranian pilgrims were wounded in a spate of bomb attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, an interior ministry official said.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 19 Oct 2010, 2:24 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:23 AM

The father, brother and sister of lieutenant colonel Qais Rashid, brigade commander of a rapid-response force in the central city of Tikrit, were killed by a bomb that exploded in the home of the officer’s father, the official said.

He said two other family members were wounded.

Two policemen meanwhile were killed and two wounded by a bomb blast at a checkpoint in the city of Samarra, about 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

In Baghdad, magnetic “sticky” bombs, which attach to vehicles and have increasingly become a weapon of choice for insurgents, targeted two buses carrying Iranian pilgrims, the interior ministry official said.

Eight Iranians in one bus and four in another were wounded in the early morning attacks in different parts of the capital.

The attacks against Iranian pilgrims came a day after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki paid a short visit to Tehran, where he sought to drum up support for a second term in office.

Authorities upped security measures in response, and armed police were seen stopping and checking every busload of Iranian pilgrims at the capital’s many, congested checkpoints.

Every day about 1,500 pilgrims from neighbouring Iran visit Shiite shrines in Iraq, mainly in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Violence in Iraq has plunged dramatically since its peak in 2006-2007 but casualties from insurgent and military action still remain part of daily life.

Political and sectarian tensions between Iraq’s majority Shiite population and large minority Sunni numbers have been running high since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Maliki, a Shiite, met in Tehran with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, before holding talks with Iraq’s radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr in the holy city of Qom, reports said.

Khamenei blamed Iraq’s problems on the presence of US troops in the war-torn country.

Washington played down the importance of the visit but urged Iran to be a better neighbour to Iraq.

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