ZUBAIDIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - A car bomb killed at least three people and wounded many others in a busy morning market in the mainly Shi‘ite Muslim Iraqi town of Zubaidiya on Wednesday, the latest attack to raise fears of a return to widespread sectarian violence.
Grocery store owner Haider Radhi told Reuters he watched a young man stop his car and get out seconds before the explosion.
“I saw wounded people and bodies on the ground. I was so scared ... I started to transfer the wounded by car until the ambulances arrived in the town,” Radhi, 30, said.
Local authorities said three people were killed in the blast in Zubaidiya, about 100 km (60 miles) southeast of Baghdad. A health official said 10 people were injured while a member of the provincial council said 17 people were wounded.
On Tuesday, bombs killed at least 44 people at markets in the country and authorities said they bore the hallmarks of sectarian attacks on Shi‘ite Muslims by al Qaeda Sunni militants.
Sunni insurgents often attack Shi‘ite targets to try to reignite sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands of people in 2006-2007.
One of Tuesday’s bombings took place near a Shi‘ite mosque where pilgrims gather on their way to the nearby city of Kerbala to celebrate the birthday of one of their most important imams, al-Mahdi, this week.
Last month at least 237 people were killed and 603 wounded in attacks, mainly bombings, according to a Reuters tally, making June one of the bloodiest months in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of last year.
Reporting by Jaafar al-Taie in Zubaidiya and Aseel Kami in Baghdad; Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Andrew Heavens