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Bombers Kill 35 Shi'ites in Iraq

By Edward Yeranian
Cairo
07 August 2009

A series of bomb attacks in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the capital Baghdad killed at least 35 people Friday. Shi'ite pilgrims were marking the birthday of the 12th Imam, a revered figure in Shi'ite Islam.

The worst explosion occurred near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where eyewitnesses say a car-bomb packed with explosives killed more than two dozen worshippers at a mosque.

Many of the victims were reportedly leaving the mosque when the blast occurred.

Mohammed Musalli, who lives in the area, explains what happened. He says the explosion was powerful and took place in a small area, where the houses were close together. The neighborhood, he says, is inhabited by the Turkmen minority, but representatives of their community are not saying who they think was behind the explosion.

Attacks elsewhere in Iraq Friday struck mainly Shi'ite targets, as Shi'ite pilgrims and worshippers marked the birthday of the Imam al Mehdi, or the 12th Imam, a holy and revered figure, whom many expect to return, one day.

Two bombings hit separate targets in Baghdad's Shi'ite suburb of Sadr City, with one ripping through a bus packed with Shi'ite worshippers returning from the holy city of Karbala.

Iraqi TV showed pictures of the bus, torn apart by shrapnel. An eyewitness standing next to the bus, describes what he saw.

He says some of the people in surrounding cars were hurt badly, but it was mostly the bus that took the brunt of the explosion.

A minibus carrying Shi'ite pilgrims was also targeted in Sadr City about an hour later, wounding a handful of people.

The security situation in Iraq remains tense, but the general level of violence has dropped in recent months. There has, nevertheless, been a rise in attacks in recent weeks.



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