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Bomb kills 15 in attack on pet fair in Baghdad

Bomb kills 15 in attack on pet fair in Baghdad

A bomb killed 15 people and wounded 55 in the second attack in as many months on Baghdad's much-loved Friday morning pet market, police sources said.
The blast hit the Ghazil market in the city center an hour before a weekly 11 a.m. (local time) vehicle curfew in the Iraqi capital, aimed at protecting mosques over Friday noon prayers.
Bomb attacks killed at least 34 people in Baghdad on Thursday as Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned militants from both Shiite and Sunni camps they would have nowhere to hide from a coming major crackdown backed by U.S. troops.
On Monday, one of the deadliest attacks in recent months killed at least 88 people at nearby Bab al-Sharji market.
A police source said witnesses believed yesterday's bomb had been planted in a cardboard box that the bomber had punched with air holes to pass it off as containing birds. Parrots, canaries and more exotic pets are prime attractions at the market.
On December 1, also a Friday, a car bomb killed three people at Ghazil market. It attracts weekend sightseers in the beleaguered city, where public entertainments are scarce.
Blood stained the ground near the blast site and small birds chirped in battered cages around the small square in front of an ancient Sunni mosque. Tattered black Shiite prayer flags hung in the clear, still winter morning. The population of the crowded central area is religiously mixed.
After a surge in bombings over the past few days, security forces are on high alert as Shiites prepare to mark the climax of the 10-day mourning rite of Ashura on Monday.
Many hundreds of thousands of pilgrims are expected to converge on the holy city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad, for ceremonies banned during Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated, secular rule and now an annual highpoint for majority Shiites in the political ascendant in Iraq for the first time.
A suicide bomber killed at least one person and wounded three in a Shiite district in the northern city of Mosul yesterday, police said.
Al-Maliki told parliament on Thursday: "There will be no safe haven - no school, no home, no mosque ... They will all be raided if they are turned into a launchpad for terrorism, even the headquarters of political parties."


Updated : 2021-05-18 16:59 GMT+08:00