Suicide bomber hits Iranian pilgrims in Iraq, 9 dead
A suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims in Iraq on Friday, killing at least nine people in an attack likely carried out by Sunni insurgents trying to ignite sectarian conflict.
Al Qaeda's local wing and other Sunni insurgents have unleased a wave of attacks since the start of the year in an attempt to provoke the kind of Shi'ite against Sunni bloodshed that killed thousands in 2006-2007.
Police said that in the attack in Muqdadiya, 80 km northeast of Baghdad, the bomber targeted a convoy of three buses carrying Iranian pilgrims, who often visit Iraq's Shi'ite shrines in the south of the country. At least nine people were killed and 27 wounded, according to police.
"When the buses passed, a white car driving very fast came out of an alley way and hit the second bus, and I saw that bus burst into flames," said Ahmed Ferhan, an Iraqi man injured in the blasts.
An official with Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization told the semi-official Fars news agency that based on preliminary information, 16 Iranians had been killed and 44 wounded in the attack
Nearly 2,000 people have been killed in attacks in Iraq since April, the highest toll in five years, in surging violence that is increasing fears the country may slide back into all-out inter-communal war.