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Dozens killed after Baghdad lifts curfew
Mortars slammed into crowded Baghdad neighbourhoods, killing 18 people and injuring dozens, as security measures were eased in the capital after the bombing of a revered Shia shrine and a wave of bloody sectarian violence.
At least nine others victims, including two teenage boys playing football in Baqouba, were killed in other attacks yesterday.
A 24-hour transport ban remained in effect in Baghdad and its suburbs as authorities tried to halt the violence that has claimed nearly 200 lives since the Shia Askariya shrine was destroyed in Samarra on Wednesday. But traffic restrictions were lifted in the strife-prone provinces of Diyala, Babil and Salahuddin, where the shrine was located.
At least seven mortar rounds hit in a Shia enclave of Dora, a predominantly Sunni Arab district and one of the most dangerous parts of the city. Eighteen people were reported killed and at least 45 injured.
Britain's former ambassador to Iraq, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, warned that the country was slipping into a state of low-level civil war, with the conflict pitting rival ethnic and religious groups against each other. The sectarian fighting, he said, bore a resemblance to ethnic cleansing in some parts of the country.