Blasts targeting Iraqi Shiites continue for second day

Iraq was struck by two further fatal bombings on Tuesday - coinciding with a surprise visit by US President Barack Obama - and coming a day after a string of seven bomb attacks.

In the latest incident, a bomb explosion in the predominantly Shiite district of Kadhimya in Baghdad killed 8 persons and wounded 18 persons. The bomb went off near a mosque in a busy area.

Earlier Tuesday, police said that a man detonated explosives packed in his car as he approached a checkpoint in Falluja, killing an Iraqi security officer and wounding nine other people.

Falluja, some 70 kilometres west of Baghdad, was the site of intense fighting between US forces and Sunni insurgents, but has been quiet in recent months, thanks in part to the cooperation of Sunni militias known as "Awakening Councils" that joined with US and Iraqi authorities to fight insurgents there.

The bombings came a day after a string of blasts in Baghdad and Mosul on Monday which had killed at least 42 people and injured more than 130.

Those bombings preceded Tuesday's 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Baath Party, leading Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to call them "a gift" from the Baath Party to Iraq to mark its "doomed anniversary."

They also came two weeks after a car bomb killed 26 people in a market in a predominantly Shiite al-Shaab neighbourhood of Baghdad.

The number of fatalities from attacks across Iraq in January was at its lowest since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, but a series of deadly bomb attacks has driven the number of casualties up in the months since January's provincial council elections.

In a further incident, in the northern city of Mosul, the leader of an Arab tribe, Sheikh Farhan Falah Mohammed Yunis, was fatally shot, police sources reported, adding that unknown gunmen killed him on Monday night west of Mosul, in Iraq's ethnically divided Nineveh province.

Sheikh Farahan was the leader of a local Arab tribe and an important politician with the Hadba List, the Arab nationalist coalition that won January's provincial council elections in Nineveh on a platform of taking control of the province from Kurdish parties.

Those Kurdish parties swept to power in Nineveh's local government after a Sunni-Arab boycott of the last provincial polls in 2005, reported dpa.

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