BAGHDAD, (AFP) – Attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims near Baghdad and a tiny Kurdish sect in Iraq’s main northern city killed at least 10 people on Saturday as Muslims marked the Eid al-Adha holiday, officials said.
The attacks, which left around 20 people wounded, were the latest in a series of bombings and shootings in the past week that have broken a relative calm in Iraq.
A magnetic “sticky bomb” attached to a minibus ferrying Shiite pilgrims in the town of Taji, 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of the capital, killed at least five people, a security official and medics said.
The doctors warned that the toll could rise, and a police captain in Taji said as many as eight people had died in the attack, which struck at 9:30 am (0630 GMT).
Shiite pilgrims in Iraq typically use the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, which began on Friday, to either visit relatives, the graves of dead family members, or shrines to key figures in Shiite Islam located across the country.
In Mosul, 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Baghdad, three attacks targeting the Shabak community killed five people and wounded nine others, security and medical officials said.
In separate shootings, gunmen burst into the homes of Shabak families and killed a total of five people, and wounded four others, including young children, while a bombing in the compound of a family home wounded five.
The Shabak community numbers about 30,000 people living in 35 villages in Nineveh, and many want to become part of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
They speak a distinct language and largely follow a faith that is a blend of Shiite Islam and local beliefs.
The community was persecuted under ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq they were targeted several times by Al-Qaeda.
Levels of violence have declined dramatically in Mosul and nearby towns and villages, but the city that was once an al-Qaeda stronghold is widely cited as one of the places where the network’s Iraqi front still holds sway.