Pilgrims have been killed in an attack in Baghdad. The violence is testament to the fact that although the situation has calmed in Iraq, clashes can still flare up with fatal consequences.
A mortar attack in the Iraqi capital killed at least six people and wounded 38 on Sunday, police and medical sources said.
Two mortar rounds went off next to Shiite shrines dedicated to the imams Musa Kadhim and Mohammed Jawad in the Kadhimiyah area in northern Baghdad late on Sunday. Pilgrims were gathering in the run-up to a religious celebration marking the anniversary of the passing of Shiite Imam Musa Kadhim.
Although violence in Iraq has dropped significantly since 2006-2007, when bloodshed was at its peak, attacks, mainly concentrated in Baghdad, continue to take place. The death toll from clashes was 132 in May, according to official figures.
Opposition to the president
In political developments, Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki said in a statement on Sunday that his opponents had failed in their bid to oust him through a no-confidence vote and called for unity between political groups.
"I take this opportunity to renew a call for all political partners to sit at the table for negotiations, and to be open to discuss all disagreements," al-Maliki said.
"I am sure we will be able to overcome all challenges and difficulties that are in our way."
Al-Maliki, a Shiite, is struggling to contend with opposition from Sunni and Kurdish political blocs, along with some Shiites, who accuse him of concentrating power within his own hands.
Coalition rebels also issued a statement saying they would not give up trying to unseat al-Maliki to "put an end to the monopoly [on power] and domination."
sej/mz (Reuters, AFP, AP)