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Bomb kills five in Baghdad, helicopter crashes

A pool of blood is seen as residents gather at the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad's Sadr city July 28, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bomb planted in the middle of a Baghdad road exploded on Wednesday, killing five Iraqis standing in a line to collect their pensions and wounding 12 others, a police source said.

The blast hit a queue of pensioners outside a state-owned bank in the Iraqi capital’s Sadr City slum, a Shi’ite area, the source said.

The police source said the bomb could have killed many more people but the pensioners’ queue outside the bank was smaller than usual because many people were away at a pilgrimage in the Shi’ite holy city of Kerbala.

Separately, an Iraqi military helicopter crashed west of Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad, killing the four-strong crew, Major-General Othman al-Ghanimi, chief commander of the Iraqi army in Kerbala, told Reuters.

“The helicopter crashed at 0200 (2300 GMT) as a result of a sand storm,” said Ghanimi, adding that the helicopter had provided aerial protection for pilgrims.

On Monday, two car bombs exploded near Kerbala, killing at least 19 mainly Shi’ite pilgrims and wounding 54, officials said.

Several hundred thousand pilgrims are expected in Kerbala this week for the anniversary of Imam Mohammed al-Mehdi, one of the annual pilgrimages that have evolved into shows of strength for Iraq’s majority Shi’ite Muslims since the fall of Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.

Bombings and other attacks are still routine in Iraq more than seven years after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam, although the level of violence has fallen sharply since the height of the sectarian slaughter of 2006-07.

Writing by Jim Loney and Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Ulf Laessing and Jon Hemming