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Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Wednesday, 8 April 2009 12:40 UK

Bomb attack near Iraq Shia shrine

Aftermath of bomb in Khadamiya, Baghdad (08.04.09)
The area was filled with clothing and jewellery shops

A bomb has exploded in a mainly Shia Muslim part of Baghdad, killing seven people and injuring at least 20 others, Iraq police have said.

The blast was in a shopping area in Kadhamiya, near the most important shrine for Shia Muslims in the city.

A day earlier, nine people died in another bombing in the area.

That followed a series of attacks on Monday killing 34, raising fears that violence levels in Iraq may rise again after reaching their lowest since 2003.

Police said 23 people were injured in the blast, which tore through a pedestrian-only area filled with jewellery and clothing shops.

They told AP news agency the device had been left in a plastic bag.

It exploded about 100m (100 yards) from the tomb of Imam Mousa al-Kazim, holy to Shia Muslims.

Last January, a man disguised as a woman blew himself up near the shrine, killing more than three dozen people and wounding more than 70.

Obama visit

It came a day after Barack Obama made his first visit to Iraq as US president.

On an unannounced trip to Baghdad, he said the time had come for Iraqis to "take responsibility for their country".

He confirmed his plans to withdraw all US troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.

Mr Obama has said he wants US soldiers to leave Iraqi cities by the middle of summer this year and wants most of them to be out of the country altogether by the end of 2010.

A smaller number of military advisers and support staff would remain in the country until 2011.

Levels of violence have been generally declining in Iraq but Mr Obama's visit came a day after more than 34 people died in apparently coordinated car bomb attacks in Baghdad.

Attacks by insurgents claimed more than 200 lives in both February and March.

Some US military and Iraqi government officials have privately expressed concern that the violence may again rise as US troops are pulled out.

Correspondents say Mr Obama will have used the visit to reassure Iraq's leaders that, when US troops are eventually withdrawn, it will be done responsibly and without plunging the country into chaos.



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