Attacks on Shiites kill 18 in Iraq

A suicide bomber attacked a Shiite shrine in Iraq Tuesday, killing 11 people, including some mourning seven who were shot dead earlier in the day, police and a doctor said.

The blast at the Abu Idris shrine in Baquba, northeast of Baghdad in the religiously and ethnically mixed province of Diyala, also wounded 19 people, the sources said.

The victims of the bombing included people who were mourning the deaths of seven Shiite shepherds who were gunned down northeast of Baquba earlier on Tuesday.

Members of Iraq's Shiite majority are frequently targeted by Sunni militants, who consider them to be apostates.

Violence in Iraq has reached a level this year not seen since 2008, when Iraq was just emerging from a period of brutal sectarian killings, and the surge in violence has raised fears the country is falling back into all-out conflict.

It took just eight days for this month's death toll to surpass that for the entire month of December last year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.