The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide

Bomb kills eight Iraqi Shiite pilgrims

Iraq bomb blastA roadside bomb killed eight Iraqi pilgrims and wounded 46 near a revered shrine on Thursday as Iraqi Shi’ites marked Arbain, one of the most important dates in the Shi’ite religious calendar, police said.

Police said the blast took place less than 1 km (half a mile) from the Imam Hussein shrine in central Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad, despite intense security.

Weeping pilgrims fled the scene, some of them scuffling with police, while others stayed to pick up body parts, a Reuters witness said.

The Arbain rite draws hundreds of thousands of Shi’ites each year to mark the end of a mourning period after the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein in the seventh century.

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Some pilgrims have been walking toward Kerbala for days, the women dressed in black robes and men carrying religious banners. Checkpoints have slowed traffic to Kerbala and other parts of Iraq to a crawl.

Such huge gatherings by Iraq’s Shi’ite majority, which were curtailed under Saddam Hussein’s Sunni Arab-led government, have been magnets for insurgent attacks since Saddam was ousted in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Interior Ministry spokesman Abdul-Karim Khalaf said that five people were killed in the blast and 50 were wounded.

On Wednesday, the United Nations mission in Iraq condemned the targeting of pilgrims and incitement of sectarian tensions just as Sunni-Shi’ite and insurgent violence in Iraq drops to its lowest level since the war.

Two Shi’ite pilgrims were killed in separate attacks in Baghdad on Wednesday, while 16 people were killed in an attack near a Baghdad bus terminal.

It was not clear if many of the people at the bus terminal were pilgrims. While a lot walk all the way, many pilgrims also travel to Kerbala by bus.

Source: Reuters

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