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Officials: Bomb kills 3 Sunni worshippers in Iraq

By By Sameer N. Yacoub

Associated Press

Published: Friday, May 10 2013 7:56 a.m. MDT

People and security forces personnel gather at the scene of a car bomb attack near the offices of the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, May 8, 2013. In the oil-rich city of Kirkuk two car bombs exploded near the offices of a Kurdish party and a checkpoint manned by Kurdish security forces, killing and wounding dozens of people, police said. (AP Photo/ Emad Matti)

Associated Press

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BAGHDAD — A bombing at a Sunni mosque near Baghdad on Friday killed three worshippers and wounded seven others, police said, reflecting rising sectarian tensions across Iraq.

Insurgents have been targeting Sunni mosques following a deadly crackdown by security forces on a Sunni protest site in Hawija town last month. Sunnis were protesting perceived discrimination by the Shiite-dominated Baghdad government.

The surge in sectarian-based fighting raises concerns that the nation is on a path back to the fighting of the last decade that approached a state of civil war.

Police said a bomb went off after Friday mid-day Muslim prayers as worshippers were leaving the al-Sultan mosque in Mahaweel, 55 kilometers (35 miles) south of the capital.

Also Friday, police said a bomb explosion struck an army patrol in western Iraq, killing one soldier and wounding two others.

Hospital officials confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the mosque attack..

In another development, an Iraqi provincial official said that the country's border with Jordan was reopened on Friday morning for the first time since April 29. At that time, Iraq's Interior Ministry said the closure was related to Iraq's internal affairs.

Sadoun al-Shalaan, a member in Anbar provincial council, said the crossing will be open for only six hours a day. He said that shutting down the only crossing with Jordan had negatively affected the life of the Iraqis, especially the people living in Anbar province next to the border.

"The closure of the border has led to an increase in the prices of food in Iraq and Anbar, and I am sure that the people will be happy with the reopening," al-Shalaan said.

Iraq imports some vegetables, food products and other materials from or through Jordan.

The route to the border runs through the cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, west of Baghdad. They have long been centers of Sunni anger at the government.

Many Sunnis in western Iraq have economic, tribal and cultural ties with Jordanians, most of whom are also Sunnis.

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