Market Bomb Kills Three; Rockets Hit Near Sunni Shrine

A bomb struck a market Sunday in Mahmoudiya and initial reports said at least three people were killed and 17 were wounded.

The explosion occurred at 6:10 p.m. as the market was filled with shoppers. Police Capt. Rasheed al-Samaraie said three civilians were killed and 17 were wounded.

A group of U.S. soldiers face allegations of raping a woman, then killing her and three members of her family in the town, about 20 miles south of Baghdad.

Also on Sunday, Iraqi soldiers clashed with gunmen Sunday in a Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad after attackers fired nine rockets, some of which landed near the country's most revered Sunni shrine, witnesses said.

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The rockets landed near the Grand Imam Abu Hanifa mosque in the northern neighborhood of Azamiyah at about 3:30 p.m. Three people were wounded, Saif al-Janabi, the director of the local hospital said.

Nobody claimed responsibility for the attack, but it occurred amid rising ethnic and sectarian tensions in the capital.

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Heavy exchanges of automatic weapons fire erupted and continued early in the evening.

The Abu Hanifa Mosque contains the grave of the 8th century Abu Hanifa al-Numan, also known as the al-Imam al-Azam or the Greatest Imam. He was the founder of the Sunni Hanafi school and his teachings are followed by tens of millions of Muslims around the world.

The neighborhood of Azamiyah got its name from the imam.

The mosque's clock tower was hit by an American tank shell during the 2003 invasion and the square in front of the shrine witnessed heavy fighting between U.S. troops and Iraqi fighters.