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.
The deadliest attack was in eastern Baghdad, near Tayaran Square, where a mini-bus approached a crowd of pilgrims and exploded, killing 14 people, according to police and medical sources.
In the western neighborhood of Mansour, a parked car exploded, killing six people. In the eastern district of Shaab, another parked vehicle blew up near a group of pilgrims, killing 12, the sources added.
The violence comes just three days after the preliminary results of Iraq’s April election confirmed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s status as the favorite to form the next government.
Reporting By Ahmed Rasheed and Ned Parker; Editing by Kevin Liffey