Suicide bomber kills 53 in IraqJanuary 15th, 2012 - 3:24 am ICT by IANS
Baghdad, Jan 15 (IANS) At least 53 people were killed and over 135 wounded in a suicide bomb attack which targeted Shiite pilgrims in Iraq’s Basra city Saturday as hundreds of thousands of Shiites converged in the holy city of Karbala.
According to a police official, the attack occurred in the morning when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a police checkpoint. It occurred among a crowd of Shiite pilgrims who were marching toward a shrine in the town of Al-Zubair in Basra, a oil hub city around 550 km south of capital city Baghdad, Xinhua reported.
Shia pilgrims Saturday observed a major religious ritual, Arbaeen.
Thousands of people marched from different cities towards the holy Shia city of Karbala, around 110 km from Baghdad, to commemorate the end of 40 days of mourning for Imam Hussein, Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, who was killed at the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.
The official had earlier reported 50 pilgrims were killed and some 100 others, including women and children, wounded in the blast.
Ali al-Maliki, the head of the security committee in Basra’s provincial council, told media that the suicide bomber was wearing an explosive vest under his black coat. He started distributing food to the pilgrims to draw them closer before blowing himself up.
According to official figures, up to a total of 16 million pilgrims have passed through Karbala city during the past two weeks, the state-run television of Iraqia reported.
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Tags: basra, battle of karbala, holy city, hub city, imam hussein, iraq baghdad, police checkpoint, police official, prophet mohammad, provincial council, religious ritual, security committee, shia, shiite pilgrims, shiites, suicide bomb attack, suicide bomber, vest, xinhua, zubair