BAGHDAD, Iraq – A bomb planted in a motorcycle parked in the courtyard of a Shiite mosque killed 11 people and wounded nine Tuesday, part of mostly sectarian violence across Iraq that left 41 dead.
The mosque attack came in the mixed Tunis neighborhood of northern Baghdad near the Sunni Arab stronghold of Azamiyah. Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohamedawi of the Interior Ministry said it occurred a couple hours before the captial's 11 p.m. curfew.
An hour later, police said a roadside bomb exploded outside a bakery in southeast Baghdad, killing three bystanders and wounding 12.
The deaths came a day after new Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Britain's visiting leader, Tony Blair, announced that Iraqi security forces would start assuming full responsibility for some provinces and cities next month, beginning a process that could lead to the eventual withdrawal of all coalition forces.
They said "responsibility for much of Iraq's territorial security should have been transferred to Iraqi control" by December. At that point, al-Maliki said, two of the most violent provinces, Baghdad and Anbar, may be the last where coalition forces maintain control.
But some of Tuesday's violence showed that goal may not be easy to achieve.
A car bomb was detonated in the late afternoon outside a police station in Sadr City, a sprawling Shiite district in northeast Baghdad, killing five and injuring 16, al-Mohamedawi said.
Earlier, gunmen in a car shot and killed four ironsmiths and wounded one as they rode to work in Mosul in a pickup truck, said police Brig. Abdul-Hamid Khalaf.
In a drive-by shooting, attackers killed three day laborers and wounded four as they drove by a minibus to work at a farm near Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Police said the casualties, all majority Shiites, appeared to be the latest victims of sectarian attacks by minority Sunni Arabs in Diyala province.
Several hours later, gunmen in a speeding car killed three men who were standing near a house in Baqouba, police said.
Nazar Qadir, 39, a high school teacher on his way to work near Kirkuk city in Tamim province 180 miles north of Baghdad, also was killed in a drive-by shooting.
On Jan. 31, a U.S. Embassy report had found security "critical" in Anbar province, the Sunni-dominated region west of Baghdad that includes Ramadi and Fallujah. It also said the security situation was considered serious in the provinces of Baghdad, Basra, Ninevah, Tamim, Salahuddin and Diyala — all religiously mixed.
A car bomb exploded in New Baghdad, killed two police commandos and three civilians. The attack, which damaged nearby shops and cars, also wounded five commandos and three civilians.
A roadside bomb hit a minibus carrying workers to a textile factory in western Baghdad, killing one and wounding three others, said police 1st Lt. Maithem Abdel-Razaq.
In western Baghdad, a drive-by shooting killed one of the many vendors who sell cigarettes from small wooden stands alongside streets in the capital. A roadside bomb also damaged a Humvee in a U.S. convoy in Dora, one of Baghdad's most violent areas, and a woman and a child were wounded in gunfire that followed.
A mortar shell landed near the heavily fortified Green Zone, wounding four civilians and damaging three cars, police said. The Green Zone, where Iraq's government meets and the U.S. and British embassies are based, is a frequent target of such attacks.
During his news conference with Blair on Monday, al-Maliki was asked whether the surge in sectarian violence, which has prompted thousands of Iraqis to flee their homes, is a civil war.
"There are rebellious elements. There are gangs killing people. There are gangs that have used arms for political blackmailing or to achieve goals that have political dimensions," he said. "But those groups have failed to ignite a civil war."
On Monday, Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said the gradual assumption of security duties by Iraqi forces is a good opportunity for insurgents to discuss their future roles with the Americans and British.
While he maintained that Iraqis have a legitimate right to resist coalition occupation, he also said insurgents, most of whom are believed to be Sunnis, should consider talking to the Americans and British since there are "real signs" those nations apparently are considering eventually withdrawing their forces.
"Such signals are enough to sit down and discuss the ways for withdrawing these forces and what the role of the national resistance would be after restoring the sovereignty," al-Hashimi said on Baghdad TV, which is owned by his Iraqi Islamic Party.