Monday, December 05, 2011 – According to Iraqi security officials, at least 25 people have been killed and 48 others were injured in a series of bomb attacks in central Iraq targeting Shia pilgrims marking the festival of Ashura.
The officials further added, the incident took place in the Neel area north of Hilla which lies in the south of Baghdad after a car packed with explosives targeted pilgrims.
A Doctor quoted by AFP in Hilla hospital said, at least 16 dead bodies and 45 others who were injured following the incident were taken to the hospital.
Later, at least seven people died when a bomb exploded near a convoy of pilgrims in the capital, Baghdad.
The attacks came as the last 10,000 American troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2011, more than eight years after the invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein and allowed the country’s Shi’ite majority to ascend.
In previous years, Ashura has been a target for Sunni Arab extremists, who see the ceremonies as symbolically highlighting the split between Islam’s two main branches.
Violence has declined in Iraq since its peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common.
According to Iraqi security officials, a total of 187 people were killed in November.