Baghdad bombs kill at least 13


At least 13 people were killed and more than 100 wounded today when two roadside bombs exploded in a Baghdad market, Iraqi police and hospital sources said, in the latest attack targeting Shia Muslims this month.

A wave of bombings this month mainly targeting Shia pilgrims and shrines has killed more than 130 people and fuelled fears that Iraq could slip back into sectarian bloodletting of the kind that has receded since it peaked in 2007.

Tensions have run high since US troops left in December as Shia, Sunni and Kurdish political factions vie for power. The first explosion struck Husseiniya, a market in a mainly Shia area on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, where people were shopping for groceries and other goods, sources said.

The second blast followed soon afterwards as security forces and people gathered to tend the casualties from the first."Fruit and vegetables have been scattered everywhere. Some children were wounded," a policeman at the scene said.

"We have started to evacuate the injured people."

On Monday, a suicide bomber killed at least 15 mourners at a Shia funeral in the northern city of Baquba. Twin car bombs killed at least 26 Shia pilgrims on Saturday.

The attacks come as Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki tries to fend off attempts by Sunni, Kurd and some Shia rivals to organise a vote of no-confidence against him.

His opponents accuse the Shia leader of trying to consolidate his power at their expense.

Earlier today, gunmen in a speeding car using silenced weapons fired on a police checkpoint in Baghdad's southwestern Bayaa district, killing three policemen, local police and hospital sources said.

Three civilians were also wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near an army checkpoint in Mosul, a local police source said.