Friday, January 21, 2005

Western Iraq explosion

BAGHDAD, Jan 21 (Reuters) - A car bomb exploded near a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in western Baghdad before Friday prayers, causing several casualties, a police source said.

But the source said it was not immediately clear if anyone was killed. Some casualties were taken to a nearby hospital, witnesses said.

Guerrillas bent on derailing Iraq's Jan. 30 elections, expected to be dominated by the Shi'ite majority who were oppressed during Saddam Hussein's rule, have mounted several attacks on Shi'ite shrines and clerics in the past few months.

Iraqi officials and Shi'ite leaders have blamed the attacks on militants and accuse them of trying to drive the country towards civil war.