Iraq bombs kill 13, including 10 in police home

The violence in Iraq is the latest in a spate of unrest in the weeks since U.S. forces completed their withdrawal on December 18. (Reuters)

Bomb attacks in Iraq on Thursday killed 13 people, including 10 who died in a bomb attack on the home of two brothers who were policemen, medics and police said.

The violence is the latest in a spate of unrest in the weeks since U.S. forces completed their withdrawal on December 18, with Iraq mired in a political stand-off that has pitted the Shiite-led government against the main Sunni-backed political bloc.

In the deadliest attack, a 4:00 am (0100 GMT) bombing in Mussayib, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Baghdad, struck the home of policemen Ahmed and Jihad Zuwaiyin as they and their families slept.

The explosion killed 10 members of the family ̶ the two officers, their wives, and six children aged 10 or younger ̶ a police officer in the Babil provincial capital Hilla and a doctor at Mussayib hospital said.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

The police officer said the blast was caused by several roadside-type bombs placed near the house's outer walls, which destroyed it. Four people were wounded and six nearby houses were also damaged.

Mussayib, a predominantly Shiite town, lies in a confessionally mixed region dubbed the Triangle of Death because of the frequency of attacks there during the worst of the insurgency that followed the US-led invasion of 2003.

In the northern ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, meanwhile, three people were killed and five others wounded by a bomb on a motorcycle parked near a primary school in the city center, police Brigadier General Adil Zain al-Abidine said.

Kirkuk lies at the center of a tract of disputed territory that is claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and authorities in Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region.

Violence is down from its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common. More than 200 people have been killed in attacks since American forces completed their pullout from Iraq on December 18, according to an AFP tally.

Reflecting ongoing sectarian tensions amid a political row in Iraq, messages were posted on Monday on the Honein jihadist forum vowing further attacks targeting Iraqi Shiites.

“The violent attacks against the Rawafid (the name used for Shiites by Sunni extremists) will continue,” Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq said in a statement claiming responsibility for attacks on Shiite pilgrims in the past month.

“The lions of the Islamic State of Iraq (will not cease their operations)... as long as the Safavid government continues its war. We will spill rivers of their blood as reciprocity.”

The jihadists often invoke Iran’s Safavid past, referring to the Shiite dynasty that ruled Persia between the 16th and 18th centuries and conquered part of Iraq, when denouncing the Baghdad government, which they say is controlled by Iran.

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