Rocket attack on Ashura ceremony kills 7 in N Iraq

By Xinhua

Mosul, Iraq : A rocket hit a Shiite religious ceremony in a town in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh on Saturday, killing seven people and wounding 17 others, a senior local police officer said.

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“A Katyusha rocket struck a rally of Shiite pilgrims commemorating the Ashura ceremony in the afternoon in the town of Tal Afar, 420 km northwest of Baghdad, killing seven people and wounding 17 others,” Brigadier Najim Abdullah, who is also the mayor of the town, told Xinhua by telephone.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shiite Muslims rallied in the mainly Shiite cities across Iraq, particularly in the holy city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad, to commemorate the Shiite religious festival.

The Ashura occasion, on Friday, marks the death of Imam al-Hussein, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and the third holiest Imam of the 12 Imams most revered by Shiite Muslims, who was killed in a battle named Taf in Karbala in the seventh century.

In a separate incident on the day, five mortar rounds landed on an Iraqi Army base in the Mosul Hotel in western Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, a provincial police source told Xinhua.

The attack resulted in wounding of four Iraqi soldiers and damaging parts of the hotel’s building, the source said on condition of anonymity.