Thirty-two killed in three attacks on Shi'ite pilgrims in Baghdad

BAGHDAD Thu May 22, 2014 1:52pm EDT

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thirty-two people were killed in three attacks on Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims walking in Baghdad on Thursday evening ahead of a major religious holiday, police and medical sources said.

The attackers defied a shutdown of major roadways for Shi'ite religious faithful, who were heading to the Imam Kadhim shrine in Kadhimiya in western Baghdad to commemorate the death of the Shi'ite saint in 799.

All the bombings happened in the space of 30 minutes. The deadliest was in eastern Baghdad, near Tayaran Square, where a minibus approached a crowd of pilgrims and exploded, killing 14 people and wounding 17 others, according to police and medical sources.

"The suicide bomber... came speeding out from a side street towards a group of pilgrims on foot," said Police Captain Ahmed Nasir. "Many bodies were ripped to pieces."

In Shaab, also in the east of the city, another parked vehicle blew up beside a group of pilgrims, killing 12 and wounding 30, the sources added.

Across Baghdad, in the western neighborhood of Mansour, a parked car exploded, killing six people and wounding 38.

Security forces are on high alert as hundreds of thousands descend on Baghdad to mourn Imam Kadhim.

The anniversary of his death falls on Sunday. The holiday has been targeted by Sunni militants in past years, and Iraq is now gripped by its worst violence since the heights of its 2005-2008 sectarian war.

The bloodshed comes three days after the preliminary results of Iraq's April election confirmed Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's status as the favorite to form the next government.

At least 10 more people died in Iraq on Thursday as gunmen and bombers attacked mostly police and military.

In the worst attack, gunmen broke into a house in the northern city of Mosul and killed a policeman, his brother and a cousin, a police officer said.

Also in Mosul, gunmen shot dead a female Shi'ite ethnic Turkmen election candidate who had failed to get into parliament, police said.

(Reporting By Ahmed Rasheed Ziad Al-Sinjary and Ned Parker; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Comments (1)
carlmartel wrote:
Continuing attacks in one the world’s biggest oil producers help al Qaeda in two ways. First, it causes people to doubt the ability of the Shi’ite government to protect them, it primary duty. Rebels don’t win rebellions; governments lose them. Second, it raises the terror premium, raises revenues for Arab oil countries, raises donations for al Qaeda and other groups from citizens of Arab oil countries, damages US and NATO mechanized economies and militaries that depend on oil, and lets the US and NATO pay for both sides in the war. It is an effective strategy that requires effective countermeasures.

First, the US and NATO don’t want the heavy footprint that caused relatively heavy western casualties and recruited muslims for jihad. Second, the US and NATO can offer intelligence sharing to aid Iraqi security forces. Third, the US and NATO can offer more advanced arms and equipment than Iraq has at present along with training for Iraqis outside of Iraq. No western trainers should be inside Iraq! Fourth, the US and NATO can offer development aid for projects to be administered and inspected by muslims and, if possible, Iraqis. At some point, Iraqis must grow on their own; we can help them do it; but it must be their growth and development.

May 22, 2014 7:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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