(photo credit: AP)
Gunmen ambushed travelers on a major highway leading from Baghdad to Shi'ite areas to the south on Tuesday, killing at least 14 people in separate attacks.
The first attack occurred at 6:45 a.m., when gunmen took aim at a minibus as it passed near Iskandariyah, 50 kilometers south of Baghdad in a predominantly Sunni area dubbed the "Triangle of Death" because of frequent insurgent violence.
The gunmen killed 11 Shi'ites on the bus and wounded three, according to provincial police.
About 45 minutes later, a group of gunmen standing on the highway opened fire at civilian cars, killing three people and wounding five near Latifiyah and about 10 kilometers north of the site of the initial attack.
The attacks occurred on the main highway linking the capital to predominantly Shi'ite southern provinces. Farmers often use the road to transport goods and Shi'ite pilgrims use it for treks to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, but they have to go through the dangerous areas closer to Baghdad.
A mortar round also slammed into a house in Iskandariyah on Tuesday, wounding a woman and two other civilians, police said.
In the capital, a mortar attack struck a market in the religiously mixed western neighborhood of Baiyaa, wounding three women and a 5-year-old boy, police said.
The strike came after a deadly day in Baiyaa, with bombs and mortar attacks killing at least seven people on Monday.