- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 1, 2009

BAGHDAD | Bombs exploded near five Shi’ite mosques in Baghdad, killing at least 29 people, in an apparent coordinated attack that targeted worshippers leaving Friday prayers, Iraqi police and hospital officials said.

The bombings shattered a period of relative calm in the Iraqi capital, raising to at least 306 the number of Iraqis killed in what had been one of the least deadly months for both Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops since the war began. Seven American troops have been killed - the lowest monthly total since the war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press tally.

The deadliest attack Friday came when a car bomb exploded near a Shi’ite mosque in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Shaab, killing at least 24 people and wounding 17 others, said two Iraqi police officials and a medical official.

At about the same time, an almost simultaneous explosion struck near the al-Rasoul mosque near the Jisr Diyala bridge in southern Baghdad, killing four worshippers and wounding 17 others, the two police officials said.

A roadside bomb exploded near al-Hakim mosque in the Kamaliyah area of eastern Baghdad, wounding six worshippers. A bomb near Imam al-Sadiq mosque in the religiously mixed neighborhood of Ilam in southwestern Baghdad wounded four, while a bomb near the al-Sadrain mosque in the Zafaraniyah area in southeastern Baghdad killed one and wounded seven worshippers.

Only three other months this year saw fewer Iraqis killed since the AP began tracking war-related fatalities in May 2005. There were 242 deaths in January, 288 in February and 225 in May.

Also Friday, rockets struck a U.S. base outside Iraq’s second largest city of Basra, but there were no reports of casualties. Three U.S. soldiers were killed earlier in July in a similar attack at the base.

Questions about the Iraqi security forces were heightened earlier this week, when they clashed violently with residents of a camp north of Baghdad for exiled Iranians. Iraqi officials confirm at least seven people were killed and spokesmen for the exiles say 12 were killed and hundreds more injured in two days of intense skirmishes.

On Friday, an American military medical team went to Camp Ashraf and evacuated some of the camp’s residents who were wounded in the clashes, which began Tuesday when the Iraqis tried to enter the camp to establish a police station inside its fences.

Meanwhile, Iraqi police announced they had recovered millions of dollars stolen from a state-run bank in a robbery that left eight guards dead. An Interior ministry spokesman said police have detained some of the robbers.

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