Shia pilgrims dead after Iraqi car bombs

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Saturday, June 16, 2012

Car bombs against Shia pilgrims in the Iraqi capital killed at least 19 people and wounded dozens more on Saturday, officials said, marring the peak of commemorations for a revered Shia imam attended by tens of thousands.

A medical source said that Baghdad hospitals had received nine bodies and 47 wounded people from a car bomb attack, while an interior ministry official put the toll from the 12:15 pm blast on a highway near Shuala in north Baghdad at 14 dead and 32 wounded.

A second car bomb exploded at about 2:00 pm at the Aden intersection near Kadhimiyah, the area where the commemorations were held, with the medical source saying hospitals had received 95 wounded and 10 bodies from the blast.

The interior ministry official put the toll from the second attack at 18 killed and 36 wounded.

The attack came as tens of thousands of Shia pilgrims flocked to the Kadhimiyah area for the climax of commemorations marking the death in 799 of Imam Musa Kadhim, the seventh of 12 revered imams, who is said to have been poisoned.

The Baghdad Operations Command, meanwhile, said in a statement sent by SMS that the first attack was a suicide bombing, and that security forces had arrested a man who accompanied the bomber but got out of the vehicle before the explosion.

An AFP journalist said there were four burned cars and two minibuses at the scene of the first blast, one of which was completely destroyed.

Car parts were blown more than 100 meters from the site of the blast.

On Wednesday, 72 people were killed and more than 250 wounded in bomb and gun attacks across the country, with Al-Qaeda's local affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, claiming responsibility.

Those attacks included a car bomb on the outskirts of Kadhimiyah that killed seven people, and another blast in Karrada in central Baghdad amid pilgrims' food tents that caused 16 fatalities.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP)

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