Three dead, 12 hurt in Iraq attacks on police, Iran pilgrims
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Last Updated: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 16:11
Baghdad: Three members of a police officer's family were killed while 12 Iranian pilgrims and two policemen were wounded in a spate of bomb attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry official said.

The father, brother and sister of Lieutenant Colonel Qais Rashid, brigade commander of a rapid-response force in the central city of Tikrit, were killed by a bomb that exploded in the home of the officer's father, the official said.

He said two other family members were wounded.

Two policemen meanwhile were wounded by a bomb blast at a checkpoint in the city of Samarra north of Baghdad.

In Baghdad, magnetic "sticky" bombs, which attach to vehicles and have increasingly become a weapon of choice for insurgents, targeted two buses carrying Iranian pilgrims, the official said.

Eight Iranians in one bus and four in another were wounded in the early morning attacks in different parts of the capital.

The attacks against Iranian pilgrims came a day after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki paid a short visit to Tehran, where he sought to drum up support for a second term in office.

Authorities upped security measures in response, and armed police were seen stopping and checking every busload of Iranian pilgrims at the capital's many, congested checkpoints.

Every day about 1,500 pilgrims from neighbouring Iran visit Shiite shrines in Iraq, mainly in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Violence in Iraq has plunged dramatically since its peak in 2006-2007 but casualties from insurgent and military action still remain part of daily life.

Political and sectarian tensions between Iraq's majority Shiite population and large minority Sunni numbers have been running high since the 2003 US-led invasion.

Maliki, a Shiite, met in Tehran with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, before holding talks with Iraq's radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr in the holy city of Qom, reports said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 16:11

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