Monday, July 28, 2008

Suicide blasts hit Iraqi pilgrims


Nineteen people have been killed and at least 30 wounded in suicide attacks against pilgrims in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, police say.

The attacks, carried out by women, targeted Shia Muslims heading for the Kadhimiya shrine in the north of the city for annual ceremonies.

The bombers struck as pilgrim convoys passed through the central Karrada district.

The city has been under heavy security measures because of the pilgrimage.

Religious festivals in Iraq, which often see thousands of Shia pilgrims walking to a shrine, have been targeted by Sunni insurgents in recent years.

Ceremonies to commemorate the death of a revered eighth-century imam, Musa al-Kadhim, will reach a climax on Tuesday and more than a million worshippers are expected.

On Sunday, gunmen shot dead seven pilgrims in the southern outskirts of Baghdad despite tight security.

In 2005 more than 900 people taking part in the pilgrimage died in a stampede at a bridge on the route to the shrine.

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