Najaf: Fifteen people were killed and 25
wounded on Thursday when three bombs exploded simultaneously in the
Shiite Muslim shrine city of Najaf, the worst attack to hit
Iraq this year, officials said.
A car bomb exploded near a mosque and two other bombs
blew up in a retail market in the city, 150 kilometres south
of Baghdad, according to a security official.
"At 5:30 pm (2000 IST), three bombs exploded at the
same time close to a large market at Jumla, targeting the
innocent, passers-by and traders," a local government official
said. "The victims are being transported to hospital."
An interior ministry official in the capital gave the
casualty toll of 15 dead and 25 wounded.
Najaf is home to the mausoleum of Imam Ali, the
son-in-law and cousin of the Prophet Mohammed, and attracts
Shiites from around the world, especially neighbouring Iran.
An agency correspondent in the city said Iraqi security
forces deployed in large numbers following the bombings, with
routes into the city sealed off.
While attacks in Iraq remain common, especially in
Baghdad and the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, violence
in Najaf has become rare.
The last major attack in Najaf dates back to February
2007 when a suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi police
checkpoint, killing 13 people and wounding dozens more.