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  • Pharmacist back from US among 18 killed in Iraq unrest

    Published on August 15, 2010

    An Iraqi pharmacist back from studies in the United States was among at least 18 people killed in a spate of attacks across the country over the weekend, officials said today.

    More than 20 others were wounded in the violence, the latest in a surge of killings in August and as Muslims observe the holy dawn-to-dusk fasting month of Ramadan, when insurgents typically step up attacks.

    The escalation has fuelled security concerns at a time when the United States aims to withdraw the last of its combat troops by the end of August.

    Mohammed Ali al-Deen, who just returned to Iraq three weeks ago after completing a pharmacy course in Washington DC, was gunned down late on Saturday at his home in Noamaniyah, in the central province of Wasit, police said.

    It was not immediately clear why Deen, 34, who studied at George Washington University, was targeted.

    In a pre-dawn attack on Sunday, three Sunni Muslims were gunned down as they exited Abid Wais mosque in Jurf al-Sakhr, 50 kilometres south of the capital in the mainly Shiite province of Babil, police said.

    The drive-by shooting, which also left one person wounded, took place at 4:00 am (0100 GMT), after worshippers emerged from Ramadan prayers which follow a communal meal ahead of another day-long fast.

    Jurf al-Sakhr lies within a confessionally mixed region known as the Triangle of Death since a wave of insurgent attacks during the worst of Iraq’s violence following the 2003 US-led invasion.

    Three others, including an off-duty policeman, were killed when their minibus was struck by a bomb attack as it travelled to the centre of Baghdad from an eastern quarter, an interior ministry official said.

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