Blasts kill 3 in Iraq; third bomb is defused

The New York TimesSeptember 13, 2009 

— Two bombs exploded near a Shiite mosque Saturday in Baghdad, while the government said police found and defused another hidden in a Quran at one of the city's holiest Shiite shrines.

Saturday's bombings, like many recently, appeared intended to kill Shiite civilians and inflame sectarian tensions that continue to simmer despite a general reduction in violence in recent years.

Iraq's Interior Ministry said in a statement that someone had left the Quran containing a pound of explosives outside the shrine of Musa al-Khadim and his grandson, two of Shiite Islam's 12 imams, aiming to reignite the carnage that engulfed Iraq in 2006 and '07.

"This terrorist is trying to start a sectarian war," said the statement, which was read on state television.

The two bombs that exploded killed at least three people and wounded more than a dozen at another holy Shiite site not far away on the opposite side of the Tigris River.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have emphasized that the steady series of bombings across the country has not yet provoked a sectarian reaction or retaliatory attacks, but the bombings' relentlessness has caused despair.

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