25 pilgrims killed in Iraq bombings


Karbala (Iraq): At least 25 people were killed and more than 100 injured Wednesday in the latest deadly bombings to target Shia Muslim pilgrims flocking to the southern Iraqi city of Karbala.

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A man driving a motorbike in a crowd of pilgrims detonated the explosives strapped to his body, killing at least 25 people and injuring 115, police told DPA.

In the southern Baghdad neighbourhood of al-Amal, a smaller bomb injured three people near a Shia mosque, police told the Aswat al-Iraq news agency. The victims had been preparing for the pilgrimage to Karbala.

Millions of pilgrims have been making their way on foot to the holy city of Karbala to visit the shrine of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Hussein, for annual Shiite holiday of Arbaine.

Authorities have deployed more than 30,000 military and police officers on the roads leading to the city, where some 5 million visitors have already gathered for Friday’s annual ritual, according to security officials.

Security authorities are cooperating with US military air support to protect the record number of visitors in the Shia holy city, a security source said.

On Tuesday, two people were killed and 11 injured in a bomb blast targeting pilgrims in Kantarat al-Salam region, east of Karbala, according to witnesses.

Meanwhile, deadly violence continued on the outskirts of the troubled city of Mosul in the north of the country Wednesday.

An eight-year-old girl was fatally shot in the Yarmuk district on the edge of the city when police and militants exchanged fire after police caught them planting a roadside bomb. Three policemen and three insurgents were killed in the gun battle, police said.