At least seven are killed in bombing of busy market

A bomb planted in a busy market in the Iraqi town of Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, killed at least seven people and wounded 21 on Friday, police said.

The explosion shattered a relatively calm holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which ends this weekend and has been a favourite militant target in past years. It struck just as town residents were shopping for food to break their fast.

Police gave no further details. Sources at a local hospital confirmed the death toll.

Despite persistent violence, Iraqis have been venturing out in the evening this Ramadan and many say they feel safer than they have for years.

But the blast in Mahmudiya, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, was a reminder of the security woes Iraq faces six-and-half-years after the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

Evening gatherings for Ramadan have been a magnet for bombers linked to al-Qaeda and other groups in the past, but Iraq has seen a fall in deaths from bombings this month.

Religiously mixed Mahmudiya was once in the heart of the so-called “Triangle of Death”, where radical Sunni and Shi’ite Islamist militants battled it out and settled sectarian scores in 2006 and 2007, killing hundreds of Iraqis. It has since been largely quiet.

But two roadside bombs there on Sept. 10 killed at least two people and wounded 10.


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