Five killed in Diyala bombings

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Baghdad - Militants targeting Shi'a families in a province north of Iraq's capital killed five people and wounded six others when they set off bombs around their houses, local security sources said on Wednesday.

Diyala province, a fertile agricultural area, has long been one of the most volatile regions in Iraq, inhabited by a mix of Sunnis, Shi'as and Kurds.

In the first incident, attackers placed bombs around the house of a government employee in the provincial capital Baquba, 65km north-east of Baghdad, killing him and four other members of his family and wounding a passer-by, a source in Diyala operations command said.

Militants also set up explosives around two other houses, wounding five people, the Diyala operations command source and a local police source said.

The sources said the attacks took place after leaflets were distributed to several houses belonging to Shi'a Muslims in central Baquba, telling them to leave the area or they would be killed.

Violence in Iraq has dropped sharply since the height of sectarian fighting in 2006-7 but bombings and killings still occur daily, with most attacks blamed on Sunni Arab militants who have refused to lay down arms since the withdrawal of US troops last December.

More than 30 bombs hit cities and towns across Iraq on March 20, killing at least 52 people and wounding around 250. - Reuters

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