Suicide bombers kills 60 in Baghdad attacks

Sunday 06 October 2013 08.22
An unidentified gunmen shot two Iraqi television journalists dead as they were filming in the northern city of Mosul
An unidentified gunmen shot two Iraqi television journalists dead as they were filming in the northern city of Mosul

Two suicide bombers have killed 60 in separate attacks in Iraq.

A suicide bomber blew himself up amidst a group of Shia pilgrims in Baghdad.

The bomber killed at least 48 on the eve of the anniversary of the death of one of their imams, police and medics said.

A further 50 people were wounded in the attack at a checkpoint on a bridge crossing to the Kadhimiya district.

Separately, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a cafe in a mainly Shia town north of the Iraqi capital, killing at least 12 people.

An unidentified gunmen shot two Iraqi television journalists dead as they were filming in the northern city of Mosul.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bomb attack.

The bombing in Balad, 80km north of Baghdad, follows an almost identical attack on the same cafe 40 days ago.

It was not clear who was behind the killing of the journalists.

Mosul, capital of the predominantly Sunni province of Nineveh, is a stronghold for Islamist and other insurgents.

The journalists worked for Iraqi television channel al-Sharqiya News, which is often critical of the Shia-led government and is popular among the country's Sunni minority.

"They shot them in the chest and head, killing them instantly," said a security source who declined to be named.

Iraq is considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. 

According to the Baghdad-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, 261 journalists have been killed and 46 kidnapped since 2003, the year of the US-led invasion of Iraq.

A journalist from Mosul said insurgents in the city changed their tactics and targets from time to time, and may now have set their sights on journalists, after previous spates of attacks against traffic police and mayors.

"I will leave the city of Mosul and live in the outskirts until things calm down," said the journalist on condition of anonymity.

The Journalists' Syndicate denounced the killings as a"criminal act", demanding the authorities track down the perpetrators and do more to protect journalists and the media.

Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi condemned the killings:"It aims to muzzle the voice of people, the voice of righteousness".

Violence, much of it blamed on al-Qaeda, has killed more than 6,000 people this year.

This is according to the monitoring group Iraq Body Count, reversing a decline in sectarian bloodshed that had climaxed in 2006-07.

The United Nations Mission in Iraq said nearly 900 civilians were killed across Iraq in September, raising the death toll so far this year to well above the total for 2013.

In recent months, attacks have increased on members of a government-backed Sunni militia known as the "Sahwa" that helped US troops track al-Qaeda in 2007.

Three Sahwa fighters were killed in a roadside bomb explosion south of Baghdad in Yousufiya.

Relations between Islam's two main denominations have come under acute strain from the conflict in Syria.

The conflict has drawn fighters from Iraq and the wider Middle East into a sectarian proxy war.