41 killed in wave of Iraq bombings

BAGHDAD, Aug 10, 2009 (AFP) - At least 41 people were killed and nearly 150 wounded in a spate of bloody bomb attacks near the restive northern Iraqi city of Mosul and in the capital Baghdad on Monday, police said.

An affected bus

In the deadliest single attack, two booby-trapped lorries exploded before dawn in the village of Khaznan, east of Mosul, leaving 25 people dead and 70 others wounded.

Thirty-five houses were destroyed in the village, which is home to members of the tiny Shabak community, a sect of Kurdish origin.

Mosul has seen frequent attacks despite a marked decline in violence elsewhere in the country and US commanders describe it as the last urban bastion of Al-Qaeda loyalists in Iraq.

Iraq's second city with a population of about 1.6 million, Mosul is mainly Sunni -- both Arab and Kurdish -- but it also has significant Christian and Shiite Turkmen minorities.

In Baghdad, two car bombs went off as day labourers were gathering in the early morning hours looking for jobs.

The first bomb exploded at Hay al-Amel, in the west of the capital, killing nine people and injuring 46.

The second bomb attack in Shurta Arbaa in the north of the city killed seven people and wounded 35 others.

On Friday, a powerful car bomb blast killed at least 37 Shiite Muslims near a mosque in Mosul in a wave of attacks that also killed 10 people in Baghdad, threatening to plunge the country into a new bout of sectarian conflict.

Despite a marked reduction in violence in recent months, attacks against security forces and civilians remain common in Baghdad, Mosul and the ethnically divided northern oil city of Kirkuk.

The number of violent deaths fell by a third last month to 275 from 437 in June, following the pullout of US forces from urban areas.

The Shabak community numbers about 30,000 people living in 35 villages in the province of Nineveh, and many want to become part of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

They follow a faith that is a blend of Islam, Christianity and other religions. The Shabak community was persecuted under ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and after the US-led invasion of 2003 they were targeted on a number of occasions by Al-Qaeda attacks.

Source: AFP

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