At Least 30 Killed in Suicide Blast Targeting Iraqi Pilgrims
By VOA News
13 February 2009
Iraqi police say a female suicide bomber has killed at least 32 people in an attack on Shi'ite pilgrims south of Baghdad.
Police say the bomber blew herself up in a crowd of women and children Friday in the town of Iskandariyah, about 40 kilometers south of the capital. They say she hid her explosives under her abaya, the traditional black robe worn by Iraqi Muslim women.
Police say at least 65 people were wounded in the blast, which targeted Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims making their way south for a major religious ceremony.
There have been a string of attacks this week on Shi'ite pilgrims heading to the holy city of Karbala for the annual Shi'ite religious ceremony of Arbaeen on Monday.
On Thursday, Iraqi officials said a bomb blast killed at least eight pilgrims and wounded more than 50 others near the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala.
And on Wednesday, twin bombings killed 16 people near a Baghdad bus station where Shi'ite pilgrims were traveling to Karbala.
The attacks took place despite increased security. Authorities have set up checkpoints on routes into the central Iraqi city.
The Arbaeen ceremony marks the end of the 40-day mourning period following the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, in the seventh century A.D.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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