Middle East

Iraq attacks kill 10, including TV cameraman

A man reacts on a coffin draped with an Iraqi flag during a funeral for victims of a bomb attack outside a cafe, in Najaf, 160 km (99 miles) south of Baghdad, October 21, 2013. (REUTERS/Ahmad Mousa)

BAGHDAD: Bombings and shootings across Iraq, including the killing of a television cameraman, left 10 people dead Thursday as a wave of violent attacks striking the country raged on, officials said.

The deadliest attack happened Thursday night when gunmen in a speeding car opened fire on a small fast food restaurant in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Amariyah, killing four people and wounding seven, authorities said. An hour later, police said a bomb exploded near a cafe in the town of Madain, 20 kilometers (14 miles) south of Baghdad. The blast killed two people and wounded seven, they said.

In the northern city of Mosul, police said gunmen killed Bashar al-Nuaimi, a cameraman working for local TV channel al-Moussilyah, as he was walking near his house. They offered no immediate motive for the attack, though journalists have been targeted by militants in the past. Also in Mosul, authorities said a suicide bomber set off his explosive belt at an army checkpoint, killing three soldiers and wounding seven.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualties for the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

Violence has been on the rise in Iraq since a security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest site in the northern town of Hawijah. At least 465 people have died in attacks across the country so far this month, according to an Associated Press count.

Also on Thursday, the United States pledged $1 million for relocating a group of Iranian dissidents displaced in Iraq. The U.S. decision came a day after the United Nations launched a trust fund to cover the cost of moving of 3,174 members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq outside Iraq.

The MEK group, which is strongly opposed to Iran's clerical regime, was welcomed into Iraq by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s during the brutal war with neighboring Iran. Their fortunes turned sharply with the Iraqi dictator's toppling in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Iraq's current Shiite-led Iraqi government, which has strengthened ties with Tehran, considers their presence in the country illegal.

A disputed Sept. 1 shooting at their longtime home in Camp Ashraf killed 52 MEK members - roughly half of the camp's remaining population. The dissidents accuse Iraqi security forces of carrying out the killings.

Baghdad denies involvement, with officials saying an internal dispute was to blame. It has promised to carry out an investigation.

A total of 210 residents have left to other countries so far, according to figures provided by the U.N. refugee agency.

 

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