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Middle east

Suicide bombing kills dozens of Shia pilgrims

Latest update : 2009-02-13

A woman suicide bomber blew herself up among a crowd of Shia pilgrims in Iskandiriyah, south of Baghdad, killing 32 and wounding dozens more, according to Iraqi police. The pilgrims were on their way to Kerbala for a major religious ceremony.

AFP- A woman suicide bomber killed 32 Shiite pilgrims, mostly women, as she blew herself up in a crowd south of the Iraqi capital on Friday, security officials said.

The interior ministry said another 55 people were wounded in the attack in Iskandiriyah, south of Baghdad, as pilgrims flocked to the holy city of Karbala for a major religious ceremony.

Captain Mohammed al-Awadi of the police force in Babil province, of which Hilla is the capital, said the bomber had hidden her explosives under an abaya, the traditional head-to-toe black garment.

She blew herself up among a crowd of women and children just after midday (0900 GMT).

Millions of Shiites are travelling to Karbala for Arbaeen, a ceremony to mark 40 days after the Ashura anniversary of the killing of Imam Hussein by Sunni caliph Yazid's armies in AD 680.

Friday's attack came the day after eight pilgrims were killed and more than 50 wounded in a bomb attack near Karbala's revered Imam Hussein shrine.

Iskandariyah lies within what used to be known as "the triangle of death" where Sunni militants of Al-Qaeda, concealed in date groves, would launch deadly attacks on Shiites who ventured into the mainly farming area.

Last February, a suicide bomber in Iskandariyah killed 43 Shiite pilgrims and wounded more than 60.

Meanwhile, Karbala Governor Akeel al-Khazali told a news conference on Friday that five million pilgrims have already arrived in the city for Arbaeen, including 110,000 from abroad.

Date created : 2009-02-13

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