x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Iraq blasts kill 23 people

The blasts struck within an hour of each other in the Baghdad neighbourhoods of Binook, Qahira, Zafraniyah and Jihad, as well as in an area of southern Kirkuk. More than 100 people were wounded, regional health officials said.

BAGHDAD // Car bombings in Iraq struck five Shiite mosques as worshippers finished prayers yesterday, killing at least 23 people. The attacks - four in Baghdad and one in Kirkuk - were the latest assaults by insurgents seeking to undermine the Shiite-led government's efforts to achieve security.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the bombings bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda's Iraq branch.

The blasts struck within an hour of each other in the Baghdad neighbourhoods of Binook, Qahira, Zafraniyah and Jihad, as well as in an area of southern Kirkuk. More than 100 people were wounded, regional health officials said.

"We were listening to the cleric's speech when we heard a very strong explosion. Glass scattered everywhere and the roof partially collapsed," said Mohammed, a victim wounded in the Kirkuk attack, his shirt still covered in blood.

The Islamic State of Iraq militant group frequently use car bombs, suicide bombers and coordinated blasts in an effort to sow fear among Shiites.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters