DIWANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) – A car bomb in a busy market in the southern Iraqi city of Diwaniya killed at least 25 people and wounded 50 others on Tuesday, police and a provincial council official said, the latest in a series of sectarian attacks.
Earlier in the day, two roadside bombs targeting Shi’ite pilgrims killed four people and wounded 21 near the central Iraqi city of Kerbala, hospital and police sources said.
In Diwaniya, 150 km (125 miles) south of Baghdad, police announced a partial curfew and closed all entrances to the city.
The bombing took place near a Shi’ite mosque where pilgrims gather on their way to Kerbala to celebrate the birthday of one of the most important imams – al-Mahdi – this week.
Attacks have increased in Iraq in recent weeks, raising fears that the country may slip back into widespread violence between Iraqi Sunni and Shi’ite muslims.
Last month at least 237 people were killed and 603 wounded mainly in bomb attacks, according to a Reuters tally, making June one of the bloodiest months in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of last year.
The deadliest attack occurred on June 13 when bombers targeting Shi’ite pilgrims killed more than 70 people.
Sunni insurgents often attack Shi’ite targets to try to reignite violence that killed tens of thousands of people in 2006-2007. Iraq’s al Qaeda wing has claimed some of the recent bombings against Shi’ites.
(Additional reporting by Suadad al-Salhy and Ali al-Rubaie; Editing by Louise Ireland)