Suicide bombing kills at least 40 in Iraq (Third lead)

February 13th, 2009 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Feb 13 (DPA) A woman in the Iraqi town of Iskandariyah killed at least 40 people and left wounded at least 83 more, mostly women and children, when she detonated explosives strapped to her body Friday, the police said.
According to the police, the woman concealed the explosives under her abaya, a long, traditional gown, and infiltrated a crowd of women and children on pilgrimage to Karbala, some 60 km south of Baghdad.

Ambulances and police teams quickly rushed to the scene, and soldiers sealed off the area, the official said, adding that casualty figures could rise throughout the day.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shia cleric, Friday condemned the string of recent attacks on pilgrims making their way to Karbala to commemorate the death of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson, Hussein, at the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.

The Friday attack followed another bomb targeting pilgrims that killed at least 10 people in Karbala Thursday. At least 56 people were injured in the blast, many of them critically, hospital workers said.

At a press conference Friday, the governor of Karbala, Aqil al-Khazali, hinted that investigators had identified the culprit in Thursday’s bombing.

“We have secret information about the involvement of some bodies in the explosion that took place on Thursday,” al-Khazali told reporters, without elaborating.

Hundreds of thousands of Shia walk to his shrine in Karbala, 130 km south of Baghdad, over the course of the “Arbaine”, or 40 days of mourning, every year, in a ritual that will reach its conclusion Monday.

On Friday, authorities in Karbala said some 125,000 pilgrims had already arrived. Security is tight for the event, with soldiers deployed around the area’s holy sites.

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