Last updated: 6 October, 2011

Seven killed in Iraq attacks

Gun and bomb attacks in Baghdad and central Iraq killed seven people on Thursday, while a representative of the country’s top Shiite cleric was wounded, officials said.

In the deadliest attack, a magnetic “sticky bomb” attached to a car in the north Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Utaifiyah was followed by a roadside bombing, killing five people and wounding 21 others, an interior ministry official said.

Four policemen were among those wounded in the attacks, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In the east Baghdad district of Zafraniyah, a roadside bomb at a football pitch killed two young boys and wounded 13 others, according to a police official and a doctor at Zafraniyah hospital.

And in the town of Al-Qassim, gunmen wounded a representative of Iraq’s top Shiite cleric as he was returning home from prayers on Wednesday evening.

Sheikh Karim al-Khalidi, a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani, was shot and seriously wounded in the centre of Al-Qassim, some 130 kilometres (80 miles) south of the Iraqi capital.

Sistani is Iraq’s most senior Shiite Muslim cleric whose stature dwarfs that of any Shiite politician, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

“Unknown gunmen attacked Sheikh Karim al-Khalidi in Al-Qassim,” said an official in Sistani’s office in the holy Shiite city of Najaf of southern Iraq.

The attack was the first assassination attempt on Khalidi, the official said, on condition of anonymity.

A medical official in Hilla, capital of Babil province of which Al-Qassim is part, said Khalidi was “in serious condition. He is still in the hospital as he was shot in the chest.”