Attacks in Iraq, including a series of apparently coordinated bombings against Shiite places of worship in the north, killed at least nine people on Friday, security and medical officials said.
A car bomb targeted the Khezal al-Tamimi husseiniyah, or Shiite place of worship, in central Kirkuk at about 12:55 pm (0955 GMT), followed by a bombing at Imam Ali husseiniyah in the city’s northeast, and three bombings at Al-Mustafa husseiniyah in south Kirkuk, security and medical officials said.
A roadside bomb meanwhile exploded at Al-Ahmedi Sunni mosque.
Sadiq Omar Rasul, the head of Kirkuk health directorate, told AFP that eight people were killed and 80 wounded in the attacks.
And in Baquba, north of Baghdad, gunmen armed with silenced weapons shot dead a soldier while a woman and two children were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded outside their house in Saadiyah, further east, security and medical officials said.
An AFP correspondent saw the burned bodies of two children and dozens of burned-out cars at Al-Mustafa husseiniyah in Kirkuk.
Hadi Qanbar, who had been praying at Al-Mustafa husseiniyah, said that worshippers were told about the attack on Khezal al-Tamimi and began to leave.
“But when we left, explosions happened one after another,” he said. “We do not know why we were targeted.”
Azhar Kamal, who was also at Al-Mustafa husseiniyah, said: “We put the blood of the victims on the hands of the prime minister, and we ask him to protect the people of Kirkuk.”
Hassan Hussein, who was at Khezal al-Tamimi at the time of the attack, said the explosion happened behind the husseiniyah.
“We saw our brothers and friends killed and wounded by this explosion,” he said.
Khezal al-Tamimi husseiniyah is the site of powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s main office in Kirkuk.
Violence in Iraq is down dramatically from its peak between 2006 and 2008, but attacks remain common with 278 people killed in August, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security officials and medics.