60 dead in attack on Iraqi Shias, bombings

Baghdad, Jan 5 (IANS) A suicide bomber Thursday detonated his explosives among Shia pilgrims in southern Iraq, killing at least 36 people and injuring 72 others. Another 24 people were killed in bombings in Baghdad, authorities said.

The attack on Shias took place in the town of al-Batthaa, some 370 km south of Baghdad. The bomber blew up his explosive vest near a procession of Shia pilgrims.

An Iraqi army officer and two soldiers who were guarding the procession were among the dead, a police source said.

‘Our latest report put the toll at 36 killed and 72 wounded,’ the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The pilgrims were walking on a main road leading to the holy Shia city of Karbala, some 110 km south of Baghdad, to observe the religious ritual of Arbaeen.

The ritual marks the end of the 40-day mourning for Imam Hussein, Muhammad’s grandson who was killed at the battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.

Earlier in the day, at least 24 people were killed in bombings in the Iraqi capital.

The first explosion took place among a crowd of construction workers. The bomb planted on a motorcycle went off near an intersection in the Sadr area of eastern Baghdad.

Two more bombs were detonated in quick succession at a busy intersection near the al-Sadr hospital in Sadr, the interior ministry said. Dozens of people were injured in the blasts.

Explosions also took place in northern Baghdad.

Two bombs were detonated at crowded intersections in Kadhmiyah neighbourhood of northern Baghdad.