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Last Updated: Monday, 26 June 2006, 22:00 GMT 23:00 UK
Violence in Iraq leaves 25 dead
Bombed shop front in Baghdad
Violence has continued despite the national unity proposals
Violence in Iraq has left at least 25 people dead as bombers struck busy markets in two mainly Shia towns.

A bomb strapped to a motorcycle killed at least seven in a village near Baquba, north-east of Baghdad.

Another bomb blast ripped through the central shopping area in Hilla, 90km (65 miles) south of Baghdad, killing another seven people and wounding 56.

At least 11 others were reported killed in shootings and other incidents across the country.

The attacks come a day after the Iraqi prime minister announced a unity plan aimed at stemming sectarian violence.

Survivors angry

The bomb near Baquba exploded at about 2000 local time (1600 GMT) in Khairnabat, a village 70km (44 miles) north-east of the capital.

Hospital sources said many of the dead were children.
Map
The mixed Shia and Sunni region is one of the parts of Iraq hit hardest by sectarian violence.

About 30 minutes later a second explosion ripped through central Hilla, the capital of the mixed Sunni and Shia province of Babel which has been targeted frequently in attacks by insurgents.

Survivors angered by the lack of security threw stones and shouted "down with the police" in the aftermath of the attack, the Associated Press news agency reported.

In a separate incident on Monday, 10 male students, all Sunnis, were abducted by gunmen from the a building in the capital, police said.

Unity plan

The wave of bloodshed comes as Iraqi political factions responded to Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's national reconciliation plan, unveiled on Sunday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki reveals his national reconciliation plan

The 23-point plan aims to stem violence in the country by disarming militias and beefing up Iraqi security forces ahead of a takeover from coalition forces.

Seven Sunni insurgent groups have contacted the government about joining the reconciliation initiative, an Iraqi lawmaker and member of Mr Maliki's Dawa party told the Associated Press.

Iraq's most senior Sunni Arab politician, Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi, reportedly criticised the plan for its lack of a withdrawal date for US forces and apparent exclusion of hardcore Baathists - former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party.

But radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr was reported to have said the plan was too soft on Baathists.


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