Iraq attacks kill 61during Shia pilgrimage | Pakistan Today

Iraq attacks kill 61during Shia pilgrimage

A wave of apparently coordinated bombings and shootings rocked Iraq during a major Shia religious commemoration Wednesday, killing at least 61 people and wounding more than 200, many of them pilgrims.
The attacks, which came as pilgrims flocked to a shrine to commemorate the death anniversary of Imam Musa Kadhim, the seventh of 12 revered imams in Shiite Islam, are the deadliest to hit Iraq since 68 people were killed on January 5.
The targeting of Shia pilgrims was a stark reminder of the sectarian violence that tore Iraq apart in 2006-07 and was condemned by parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, who termed it an attempt “to provoke sectarian strife.”
Baghdad bore the brunt of Wednesday’s violence, with 10 bomb attacks and two shootings killing at least 21 people and wounding dozens, according to a toll by an interior ministry official confirmed by a medic. The deadliest attack saw a car bomb explode in the Karrada neighbourhood in central Baghdad where pilgrims were eating breakfast in tents.
Human remains were scattered across the street, while cars and shops in the area were damaged, an AFP journalist said.
The attack, in which a medical official said 16 people died and 32 were wounded, appeared aimed at the Shia pilgrims as they headed in their tens of thousands to the Imam Kadhim shrine in Baghdad’s northern neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah. Another car bomb on the outskirts of Kadhimiyah, which security and medical officials said killed at least four people, damaged cars and destroyed a number of makeshift houses.
Coordinated attacks took place across other centres, including in the central city of Hilla, where a police captain and doctor Ali al-Khafaji at the main hospital said two car bombs killed 19 people and wounded 51 others.
Ten people, meanwhile, were killed in a wave of attacks in and around Baquba, north of Baghdad, security and medical officials said.
In the northern city of Kirkuk, three car bombs killed two people and wounded at least 17 more, the interior ministry official and doctor Nabil Hamdi Mushnaq from Kirkuk hospital said.
In other incidents, five people were killed and 30 wounded in two car bombs in Balad, north of Baghdad, including one which targeted the local headquarters of the Shiite endowment.

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