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Shi'ite Pilgrimage Passes Peacefully in Baghdad

Hundreds of thousands of Shi'ite pilgrims gathered peacefully Tuesday at a revered shrine in the Iraqi capital, one day after three female suicide bombers killed 30 pilgrims in Baghdad.

There were no reports of fresh violence in the capital as the pilgrims converged in the northern Kadhimiya neighborhood today. The pilgrimage commemorates the death 12 centuries ago of one of the 12 Imams of Shi'ite Islam who is believed to be buried there.

The U.S. military blamed Monday's bombings on al-Qaida in Iraq, a Sunni Islamist group that has targeted Shi'ite pilgrims in the past.

Meanwhile, thousands of Kurdish demonstrators rallied in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's northern Kurdistan region, to protest a controversial provincial elections law.

Iraq's parliament passed the law last week, despite a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers. They object to the law's power-sharing agreement for the Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish residents of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Monday, a suicide bomb attack and subsequent fighting killed 25 people during a similar protest against the law in Kirkuk, south of Irbil.

Elsewhere today, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a new offensive against al-Qaida in Iraq militants in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.

U.S. military officials say Iraqi troops are leading the fight, with only minimal support from U.S. forces.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.