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Bomb kills 17 at Shiite funeral south of Baghdad

BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded Friday near a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad where mourners had gathered for a funeral, killing 17 people, Iraqi officials said.

The explosion triggered new anger at Iraq's leaders and their armed forces, who will soon take over responsibility for the country's security on their own as U.S. troops rapidly leave the country. Violence has dropped since the height of Iraq's bloodshed a few years ago, but Iraqi forces have failed to stop attacks that continue to claim lives daily.

The blast took place in a town just outside Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, said police and hospital officials in the city. Forty-eight people were also injured in the violence.

The car was in a parking lot of the mosque. The mosque as well as a nearby Shiite shrine were damaged, although it was not known how significant the damage was.

"I heard the blast, then was hit by glass from windows, and my hand was bleeding severely," said Mohammed Ali, a 42-year-old farmer who was inside the mosque when the bomb hit. "I blame the security forces for such a horrible breach. How can such a thing happen? Where were they?"

The deputy chairman for the province where Hillah is located, Sabah Allawi, said the funeral was for a prominent Shiite sheik.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Sunni militants such as al-Qaida often target Shiite mosques and neighborhoods as a way to stir up sectarian violence.

Friday evening's blast happened not far from another strike in September that police and hospital officials said killed 15 people and wounded 41.

Bomb kills 17 at Shiite funeral south of Baghdad 09/30/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 30, 2011 11:36pm]

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