Saturday 18 November 2017

Wave of bomb attacks kills 70 pilgrims in Iraq

Donald MacIntyre in Baghdad

More than 70 people were killed in Iraq yesterday when bombers attacked Shia pilgrims in Baghdad and across the country in the worst day of violence since the last US troops left in December.

At least 30 of the victims were killed when four bombs exploded as pilgrims marched across Baghdad to mark the anniversary of the death of Shia Imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a great-grandson of Mohammed.

The bombings, blamed on Sunni insurgents, followed a recent spate of attacks targeting members of the majority Shia population. They came amid a continuing political crisis in which the Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is facing an effort by Sunnis, Kurds and rivals from his own sect to engineer a no-confidence vote in protest at what they say is his failure to distribute government jobs more equitably among the parties.

While one car bomb was detonated outside a Shia mosque in the Iraqi capital, another explosion hit groups of pilgrims as they rested at refreshment tents along the route towards a shrine.

Meanwhile, 22 people were killed in the predominantly Shia city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, where police said two car bombs exploded outside restaurants frequented by local security forces.

In all, more than 21 bombs exploded in Baghdad and southern cities including Kerbala, Balad and Haswa, all mainly Shia, and targeted in the past by Sunni insurgents.

Irish Independent

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