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Iraq: Car bomb detonated near Shiite gathering kills 11

A car bomb detonated near a religious gathering is the latest in a string of apparently sectarian attacks.

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Iraqis inspect the damage after a wave of attacks in Baghdad killed at least 63 people on December 22, 2011. (KHALIL AL-MURSHIDI/AFP/Getty Images)

A car bomb detonated near a religious gathering of Shiite Muslims south of Baghdad left 11 dead on Wednesday evening. It is the latest in a string of apparently sectarian attacks in Iraq.

Police and hospital officials said the bomb went off near a tent in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles south of the Iraqi capital, according to the Associated Press. 40 people were wounded in the explosion. 

“Everybody rushed to the blast area. I saw the tent on fire and bodies ... scattered all over the place. The scene was horrific,” said Khalil Ali, a nearby resident who witnessed the bombing. “Nobody here expected an attack like this. The security measures were light because we thought that our area is safe and free of violence.”

The attack came just hours after gunmen broke into a house north of Baghdad and shot dead a well-known lawyer along with his wife and five sons, the AP reported. The motive is not known. 

More from GlobalPost: Series of deadly attacks grip Iraq

Though violence related to Sunni-Shiite tensions reached its height in 2006 and 2007, attacks have dropped dramatically since then, CNN reported.

However, attacks against civilians and security forces by insurgents continue, and have reached new levels this past week, coinciding with the beginning of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, Agence France Presse reported

July was one of the deadliest months in Iraq in at least two years, with as many as 325 people dead from attacks, according to CNN. 88 people have been killed so far this month, according to AFP. 

Sunni with ties to Al Qaeda seem to be behind the recent attacks, BBC News reported, including recent string of bombings and shootings in Baghdad and surrounding villages on July 23 which killed at least 107 people. 

More from GlobalPost: Baghdad car bombs kill at least 21

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iraq/120808/iraq-car-bomb-near-shiite-gathering-kills-11