Car bomb attack kills 11 at religious ceremony in eastern Iraq

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BNO NEWS) -- At least eleven people were killed and two dozen more were seriously injured when an explosives-laden car exploded at a religious ceremony near a market in eastern Iraq, local authorities said on Thursday. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

The attack happened at around 6:45 p.m. local time on Wednesday as worshipers gathered for a religious ceremony at an outdoor market in the village of Al-Tanmiyah, not far from the town of Suwayrah in Wasit Governorate, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southeast of Baghdad, the country's capital.

Police said the powerful blast killed at least eleven people and injured 24 others, including some who were critically injured. It was not immediately known if a suicide bomber was responsible for the attack. Witnesses said several shops and houses which were near the market were heavily damaged.

The attack happened as crowds were gathering for a religious ceremony, but there were conflicting reports about the exact nature of the event. It was not clear who carried out the deadly bombing, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Also on Wednesday, the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) reported that unidentified gunmen stormed the house of lawyer Kayrallah Jassim Al-Shati in the city of Baiji, north of Tikrit in Salah ad Din Governorate, killing Al-Shati and nine other members of his family, including the lawyer's son who worked as an attorney-general.

Last week, two car bombs exploded in an upscale neighborhood of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 50 others. The first attack targeted the crowded Andalus Square in central Baghdad while the second happened outside a passport office near the interior ministry's building.

The attacks came just over a week after a coordinated wave of bomb and shooting attacks targeted Shiite Muslims across Iraq, killing at least 109 people and injuring more than 275 others. The string of violent attacks ripped through at least fifteen different cities, among them the capital Baghdad, in six provinces.

And on June 13, at least 93 people were killed in another wave of bomb and shooting attacks targeting Shiite Muslims who were marking the anniversary of the death of Imam Musa Kadhim, a great-grandson of the prophet Mohammad and a revered imam. More than 300 others were injured.

Although violence in Iraq has declined dramatically since its peak in 2006 and 2007, political turmoil and sectarian violence has been on the rise following the pullout of the last U.S. soldiers in mid-December 2011. At least 36 people were killed in mid-April when a series of bomb attacks hit cities and towns across the country.

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