Sectarian clashes across Iraq kill at least 24 | india | Hindustan Times
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Sectarian clashes across Iraq kill at least 24

Sectarian bloodshed raged on in Baghdad, raising new fears that the country was sliding towards civil war.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2006 18:37 IST

At least 24 people were killed in attacks across Iraq on Monday as sectarian bloodshed raged on in Baghdad, raising new fears that the country was sliding towards civil war.

Ten people were killed and 51 wounded in a car bombing and mortar attack in the capital's Shiite-dominated slum district of Sadr City, police said, a day after 61 people were killed in apparent tit-for-tat attacks.

In the face of the continued violence, Iraq's Shiite Prime Minister Muri al-Maliki vowed to "defeat terrorists and all those who insist on opposing the political process."

The attack in Sadr City, a bastion of fighters loyal to firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, came after 42 Sunni Arabs were gunned down on Sunday in a deadly rampage in a Sunni district of Baghdad blamed on Shiite militiamen.

In an apparent revenge attack soon afterwards, 19 people were killed and 59 wounded when twin car bombs went off outside a Shiite mosque in a largely Sunni district of the capital.

Baghdad has been swept by a wave of sectarian violence, much of it targeting mosques, since Sunni militants blew up a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra north of the capital in February.

Another 14 people were killed across the country on Monday, including three who were blown up by a roadside bomb in front of a restaurant near the central bank in Baghdad.

Iraqi and US troops also sealed off the capital's Sunni neighbourhood of Dura and state media announced a daytime curfew there from 2:00 pm (1000 GMT) until 8:00 am (0400 GMT).

The whole capital is already under a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Dura residents reported hearing gunfire and said large numbers of armed men were out on the streets, a scene of repeated fighting and attacks on security forces.

Sunday's violence was the deadliest since a July 1 truck bombing in Sadr City, which killed 66 people, overwhelmingly Shiites, triggering a new wave of tit-for-tat attacks.

"We have no choice but to defeat those who want to plunge us in the darkness. We can only achieve this through national unity," Maliki said in an address to the Kurdish parliament in Arbil.