Middle East

Nine killed in attacks on Baghdad Shia districts

People inspect a car damaged by car bombings in Shula, Baghdad (23 October 2012)
Image caption Three car bombs exploded one after the other in the Shula district

At least nine people have been killed in car bomb and mortar attacks in predominantly Shia districts of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say.

Seven died in Shula, in the city's north-west, when at least three parked cars filled with explosives blew up simultaneously on a residential street.

Mortars also landed in the northern district of Chikuk, killing two people.

Violence is down since the height of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007, but attacks are still common in Baghdad.

Shia are still commonly targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq, a radical Sunni Islamist militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq.

On Saturday, two explosions near a checkpoint in the capital's Kadhimiya district, where people had gathered to enter a Shia shrine, left 11 people dead. Seven police and security officers were also killed in shootings elsewhere in Baghdad and in Mosul.

The latest attacks come ahead of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, which begins on Friday.

Militants in the past have targeted civilians before and during holidays, and the authorities typically increase security measures as a precaution.

In August, more than 90 people were killed in a wave of attacks before Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.