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IRAQ WARS
Iraq attack on Shiite religious hall kills 15
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) July 05, 2013


92-year-old Iraqi weds woman seven decades junior
Samarra, Iraq (AFP) July 05, 2013 - A 92-year-old Iraqi farmer married a woman 70 years his junior in a village north of Baghdad, he said Friday, voicing happiness at getting hitched alongside two teenage grandchildren who also tied the knot.

Musali Mohammed al-Mujamaie married 22-year-old Muna Mukhlif al-Juburi on Thursday evening, three years after the death of his first wife of 58 years, with whom he raised 16 children in his home village of Gubban, which lies just south of the central Iraqi city of Samarra.

"I am so happy to get married with my grandsons," Mujamaie told AFP after the ceremony.

"I feel like a 20-year-old!"

Mujamaie said the marriage of his two grandsons, aged 16 and 17, was repeatedly delayed while his own wedding was being arranged, so that the three could tie the knot on the same day.

The wedding carried on for four hours, with musical and dance performances and celebratory gunfire, and was attended by local tribal and religious leaders.

A bombing against a Shiite hall in Baghdad killed 15 people Friday, among several attacks to strike Iraq with unrest at its worst since 2008 amid fears of a revival of all-out conflict.

Nationwide violence left 23 dead and dozens more wounded as bombings struck town squares and a husseiniyah, or Shiite religious hall, as the country grapples with a political deadlock and months-long protests by its Sunni Arab minority.

Analysts and diplomats worry that the standoff, which is often linked to levels of violence, is unlikely to be resolved at least until general elections due next year.

No group has claimed responsibility for the wave of attacks in Iraq in recent months, but Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaeda frequently target the country's Shiite majority, whom they regard as apostates.

Friday's deadliest attack struck the Husseiniyah Ali Basha in the Graiat area of north Baghdad, with a car bomb exploding near the Shiite religious hall at around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT).

At least 15 people were killed and 32 others were wounded, a police colonel and a medical source said.

The area, which runs adjacent to the Tigris river, is frequented by Baghdad residents, particularly on Thursday and Friday evenings, who visit its multitude of restaurants serving Iraq's most famous delicacy -- masgoof, or flame-grilled carp.

Elsewhere on Friday, bombs primarily targeting town squares killed eight people.

In Samarra, a predominantly Sunni town north of Baghdad, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near Al-Haq square, a focal point for anti-government protesters for months.

The attack took place just before mid-day Friday prayers near the Al-Razzaq mosque, killing seven people and wounding nine others, police and medics said.

The bomber wore an army uniform, police said.

And in the mostly Shiite town of Kut, south of Baghdad, a bomb set off in Al-Amil square at around 10:00 am (0700 GMT) killed one person and wounded 17 others.

Two militants also died in the northern town of Hawijah when the bomb they were trying to plant unexpectedly went off, officials said.

Iraq has seen a surge in violence since the start of the year, with the UN reporting more than 2,500 people killed from April through June, the highest such level since 2008.

Through five days of July, the number of dead already topped the number of people killed throughout all of December 2012, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials.

The increase in unrest has coincided with ongoing protests in the Sunni Arab community that analysts and diplomats say have boosted recruitment to Sunni militant groups and given them room to manoeuvre.

Iraqi political leaders have vowed to resolve outstanding disputes, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki meeting with his two main rivals last month in a bid to ease tensions, but no tangible measures have been announced.

Outgoing UN special envoy Martin Kobler has pushed for greater dialogue and a resolution to the disputes, warning that the "carnage" must be stopped.

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IRAQ WARS
Bombs on Iraq town squares kill 5
Baghdad (AFP) July 05, 2013
Attacks killed five people in town squares in Iraq on Friday, including four who died when a suicide bomber set off his vehicle rigged with explosives just before midday prayers. The latest violence, which left dozens wounded, comes as Iraq struggles with a surge in violence coinciding with a long-running government deadlock and months of protests among the Sunni Arab minority. The deadl ... read more


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