18 dead in Iraq violence
Eighteen people including six Shiite worshippers died in attacks across Iraq on Friday, despite intensified security for Christmas Day and Shiite Ashura rituals. Also among the dead were three teachers in northern Iraq and a Kurdish peshmerga security force member while dozens of others were hurt, AFP reported.
In eastern Baghdad's Sadr City district, a roadside bomb killed six people and wounded 26 when it hit a procession marking the Ashura commemorations. Most casualties were children.
Later at night, four people died and five hurt by mortars fired into the residential area of Obaidi, in eastern Baghdad, a spokesman for the military command in the capital conveyed
In the northern city of Mosul, three teachers, who were working with Iraq's census authorities, were found dead, according to a police officer. Also in this city, one civilian died and another was injured by a bomb targeting a police while in the western part of town police said they found the corpse of a strangled woman.
Meanwhile, in the central province of Diyala, two brothers of Mustafa al-Azawi, the Sunni Arab mayor of the town of Mansuriyah, were found dead after they were nabbed on Friday morning, police said. The two men were aged 29 and 24.
A suicide car bomb along a road connecting the northern Iraqi towns of Rabiyaa, near the Syrian border, and Sinoosi also killed a Kurdish peshmerga security force member and injured 15 others, a force spokesman said. The car bomb was targeting a patrol of the peshmerga, the main security force in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.
Iraqi authorities have stepped us security in the run-up to Christmas and Ashura deploying more security forces in cities with significant Christian populations such as Baghdad, Mosul and the ethnically-mixed northern city of Kirkuk.