BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A parked car bomb exploded near a police checkpoint on a commercial street in a largely Sunni Muslim area of southwestern Baghdad on Wednesday, killing three people and wounding 20 others, an interior ministry source said.
The driver, pretending to be a shopper, parked the car on a street lined with grocers, butcher shops and other stores in the Jihad area of the Iraqi capital, the source said.
The blast hit three days after a suicide bomber posing as a beggar blew himself up in a Sunni mosque in Baghdad, killing 32 people, including a member of parliament, and wounding 39 others, according to health ministry figures.
Violence has fallen sharply since the peak of Iraq’s sectarian slaughter in 2006-07 but bombings and other attacks by Sunni insurgents and Shi’ite militias remain a daily occurrence.
Sunni politicians and security officials blamed Sunday’s mosque attack on al Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate and said it was an attempt to silence moderate Sunnis allied with the government.
U.S. and Iraqi security officials say al Qaeda is bent on discrediting the Shi’ite-led coalition government as U.S. troops prepare to leave Iraq by year-end.
Writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Angus MacSwan