Attacks in Iraq town kill 23

Attacks in Iraq town kill 23

In Tikrit, 18 are killed when a bomb explodes as people are finishing afternoon prayers, and five more die in a suicide bombing at a hospital.

Baghdad demonstrationAn Iraqi soldier speaks with activists holding photos of missing relatives during a demonstration in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. Four activists have been detained for a week without access to relatives or lawyers. (Maya Alleruzzo, Associated Press / June 3, 2011)
By Ned Parker and Raheem Salman, Los Angeles TimesJune 4, 2011

Reporting from Baghdad—

At least 23 people were killed in a pair of bombings Friday in Saddam Hussein‘s hometown, Tikrit.

A bomb exploded inside the city’s fortified government compound as people finished afternoon prayers, killing 18, security sources said.

Later in the day a suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside the city’s hospital as Sunni Muslim parliament member Mutasher Samarrai visited. Five more people were killed, according to security sources, but Samarrai emerged unscathed. Groups such as Al Qaeda in Iraq regularly target Sunni government officials for participating in the political process.

In Baghdad, a few hundred demonstrators attended their weekly Friday protest for better governance in downtown’s Tahrir Square. They carried posters of four protesters grabbed a week ago by security forces. They have been detained since then without access to their lawyers or families.

The government first denied jailing them. It now says that it picked up the four for having forged identity cards. The army late Thursday released nine other activists who were detained at their offices last Saturday as they met to discuss how to help the four, a rights activist said.

Salman is a staff writer in The Times’ Baghdad bureau.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

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