Female suicide bombers kill 47 in Iraq (Fourth lead)

July 28th, 2008 - 10:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, July 28 (DPA) Four suicide bombers believed to be women killed at least 47 people and injured 165 Monday in the Iraqi capital and the northern city of Kirkuk, marking one of the bloodiest days in months, police said. In Baghdad, three suicide attacks on Shia pilgrims carried out in quick succession left at least 25 people dead and 40 injured.

An Iraqi military spokesman, Qasim Atta, confirmed that three women wearing explosive belts carried out the attacks at three sites in the central Karada district.

The bombers struck convoys of pilgrims passing through Karada on their way to a Shia shrine in Kadimiya in north-western Baghdad to mark the death of revered eighth-century imam, Musa al-Kazim.

Thousands of Iraqi forces along with US reinforcements have been deployed in Kazimyah as the district was the site of previous attacks on pilgrims.

The religious celebrations will peak Tuesday.

A team of female guards has been deployed for the first time in order to search women for explosive vests.

On Sunday, seven pilgrims on their way to the shrine were shot dead by unknown assailants. The attacks occurred in the town of Madain, south of Baghdad.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in Baghdad and Madain but extremist Sunni Muslim groups, mainly Al Qaeda in Iraq, have often targeted Shia pilgrims during annual celebrations of religious events.

Those groups consider Shia Islam a heresy.

The blasts in Baghdad shattered months of improving security in the city credited to a US troop surge, a major crackdown against Shia militias and the establishment of tribal police units to fight Al Qaeda insurgents.

In the northern city of Kirkuk, a suicide bombing targeting crowds at a rally killed at least 22 people and injured 125, police said.

A female suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt struck crowds while thousands of Iraqi Kurds were staging a protest against the passage of an election law by the Iraqi parliament, a security source said.

Protestors carrying blood-stained banners and brandishing sticks attacked shops and blamed the blast on the city’s Arab and Turkmen communities.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front said in a statement that armed Kurds attacked its offices while eyewitnesses reported that armed Kurds surrounded the front’s offices after the blast.

Kurds claim that they constitute the majority of the population in Kirkuk and seek to integrate it into Iraq’s Kurdish Autonomous Region.

Turkmen and Arabs dispute this claim and seek a power-sharing deal with Kurds within a federal Iraq.

The rally Monday was against the ratification of a controversial provincial election law by the Iraqi parliament.

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