Six pilgrims killed in Iraq blast


An Iraqi policeman stands in front a destroyed a car after a bombing in Baghdad over the weekend (AP)

A car bomb has killed six pilgrims in the latest deadly attack on Shiites headed to mark religious rituals in a holy Iraqi city, police and hospital officials said.

Authorities said 13 people were wounded in the morning blast in a parking lot where busloads of pilgrims were staying on the outskirts of Karbala, 55 miles south of Baghdad.

A second bomb was discovered nearby and dismantled before it could explode, police said.

The attack followed a triple suicide bombing last week along two highways leading to Karbala that killed 56 and wounded at least 180 – most of them Shiite pilgrims.

Millions of pilgrims have gathered in Karbala to mark the Monday night end of Arbaeen, a 40-day mourning period to observe the seventh-century death of the Imam Hussein, one of the Shiite sect’s most revered figures.

No group so far has claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s bombing, but suicide attacks are the trademark of the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida front group believed made up mostly of Sunni religious extremists.

Such groups have frequently targeted Shiite civilians, in part because of religious differences and because Shiite parties gained power after the 2003 US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime.

Since the end of Saddam’s rule, Shiite politicians have encouraged huge turnouts at religious rituals, which were banned under the former regime, as a demonstration of Shiite power.

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