Mortar fire targeting Shiites kills 3 in Iraq

A mortar fire attack targeting Shiite Muslim worshippers killed three people and wounded eight in eastern Baghdad on Friday, police and health officials said.

It was the first deadly attack in Iraq after several days of calm during the three-day holiday earlier this week marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, more than 200 people were killed in August violence across Iraq.

Sunni insurgents frequently attack Shiites in an attempt to revive sectarian fighting and undermine the Shiite-dominated government.

In Friday's violence, police said a mortar shell landed near a mosque shortly after the start of Friday prayers in the Shiite district of Sadr City. The sermon there was delivered by a backer of the Shiite firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The Sadrist preacher, Nassir al-Saadi, was slightly wounded in the attack, said police.

A second mortar hit within a minute, landing about 500 yards away.

Medics at a nearby hospital confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.

Iraqi officials had warned of large-scale attacks during the Islamic holiday, and security measures were tightened in all over the country, especially in the capital. There were few incidents.