Baghdad: An Iraqi pharmacist back from
studies in the United States was among at least 18 people
killed in a spate of attacks across the country over the
weekend, officials said on Sunday.
More than 20 others were wounded in the violence, the
latest in a surge of killings in August and as Muslims observe
the holy dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan, when
insurgents typically step up attacks.
The escalation has fuelled security concerns at a time
when the United States aims to withdraw the last of its combat
troops by the end of August.
Mohammed Ali al-Deen, who just returned to Iraq three
weeks ago after completing a pharmacy course in Washington DC,
was gunned down late on Saturday at his home in Noamaniyah, in
the central province of Wasit, police said.
It was not immediately clear why Deen, 34, who
studied at George Washington University, was targeted.
In a pre-dawn attack on Sunday, three Sunni Muslims
were gunned down as they exited Abid Wais mosque in Jurf
al-Sakhr, 50 kilometres south of the capital in the mainly
Shiite province of Babil, police said.
The drive-by shooting, which also left one person
wounded, took place at 4:00 am (0100 GMT), after worshippers
emerged from Ramadan prayers which follow a communal meal
ahead of another day-long fast.
Jurf al-Sakhr lies within a confessionally mixed
region known as the Triangle of Death since a wave of
insurgent attacks during the worst of Iraq`s violence
following the 2003 US-led invasion.
Three others, including an off-duty policeman, were
killed when their minibus was struck by a bomb attack as it
travelled to the centre of Baghdad from an eastern quarter, an
interior ministry official said.