Iraq car bomb leaves 11 dead

The blast near the Iraqi town of Suwayrah caused widespread damage

Eleven people have been killed in a car bomb attack near the central town of Suwayrah, officials say.

The attack took place close to a group of Shia Muslims who had gathered to break their Ramadan fast. At least 20 others were wounded in the blast.

The explosion also sparked a large fire in a nearby market and damaged adjacent houses, the AFP agency reports.

There has been an increase in sectarian violence across Iraq in recent months amid worsening political tensions.

"Nobody here expected an attack like this. The security measures were light because we thought that our area is safe and free of violence," local resident Khalil Ali told the Associated Press.

Also on Wednesday, gunmen shot dead a lawyer and seven members of his family in their home in the town of Beiji.

Islamist militants have recently issued threats to kill judges and investigators.

Last month more than 240 people were killed in militant attacks.

Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaeda appear to have been behind most of the recent violence, including a wave of bombings and shootings in Baghdad and towns to the north on 23 July which left at least 107 dead.

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