Seven dead in Baghdad car bomb

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The Independent Online

A car bomb exploded in northern Baghdad yesterday, killing seven passers-by and wounding dozens more in an apparent sectarian attack near an important Shia shrine. The midday attack in Kazimiyah came as parts of Baghdad were shut to traffic in an effort to protect Shia pilgrims leaving for a religious commemoration in the southern city of Karbala this week. The curbs were expected to continue through the weekend.

The bomb exploded in busy Oruba Square about 500m from the shrine of Imam Musa Kadhim, a revered Shia figure. No group claimed responsibility, but suspicion fell on Sunni extremists who consider Shias to be heretics and collaborators with the Americans.

The US command in Baghdad also announced the discovery of an execution site in the Arab Jabour area, just south of Baghdad, in which al-Qa'ida in Iraq is known to operate. During a 24-hour operation in the Sunni Arab area, soldiers found human remains and other signs of executions.

In a series of pre-dawn raids targeting al-Qa'ida activities yesterday, US forces killed three insurgent suspects and captured 17 others. Among those seized in an operation northeast of Samarra, was a suspected associate of al-Qa'ida leaders. Ground forces also captured an alleged terrorist cell leader in the Arab Jabour area and five of his associates.