Tue, 26 Jun 2012 00:00 CDT
Nine young soccer players and fans have been killed in a bomb explosion near a pitch in southern Iraq.
The deadly bombing is the latest in a wave of attacks that have raised fears of a return to widespread sectarian violence.
The explosion was in a predominantly Shiite Muslim area of the city of Hilla, 100 kilometres south of Baghdad.
The bomb was attached to a minibus, and exploded near a field where two youth teams had just finished a game, according to police and hospital sources.
Officials say the dead and injured soccer players and fans were aged between 15 and 20.
Abdul Amir al-Jibouri, a media manager for the health department in Babil province, says more than 30 others were injured.
The bombing came the same day as police and hospital sources said a roadside bomb killed five people near a pet shop popular with young people in a Sunni Muslim area of the northern city of Baquba.
Violence in Iraq has fallen since the peak of sectarian fighting in 2006-2007, but insurgents remain capable of lethal attacks.
More than 140 people have been killed in June in bombings targeting mainly Shiite pilgrims and shrines as political and sectarian tensions remain high.
Iraq's Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions have been locked in a series of political spats since US troops withdrew in December.
Opponents to prime minister Nouri al-Maliki accuse him of trying to consolidate power at their expense.
Iraq's Al Qaeda wing has claimed some of the recent bombings against Shiites as it tries to stoke tensions.