Iraqi officials say a bomb blast killed at least eight Shi'ite pilgrims
Thursday as they observed one of their most important religious
More than 50 others were wounded in the attack that took place
near the Imam Hussein shrine in the holy city of Karbala.
conflicting reports of whether the explosion was due to a roadside bomb
or a suicide bomber.
The violence follows a twin bombing that killed 16
people near a bus station in Baghdad Wednesday. That blasts happened as
Shi'ite pilgrims traveled to Karbala.
The attacks took place despite
increased security. Authorities have set up checkpoints on routes into
the central Iraqi city.Pilgrims are gathering in Karbala, about 80
kilometers south of Baghdad, for the annual Shi'ite religious ceremony
of Arbaeen on Monday.
The ceremony marks the end of the 40-day mourning
period following the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, grandson
of the Prophet Muhammad, in the seventh century A.D.The United Nations
special representative in Iraq Staffan de Mistura Wednesday condemned
the violence as "murderous" attacks "clearly designed to provoke
Also Thursday, police said a car bomb in Mosul
killed four policemen and wounded at least three other people,
including two civilians, the latest in a string of attacks in the
Although overall levels of violence in Iraq are down this
year, Shi'ite pilgrims have frequently been targeted by bombings, with
most of the attacks blamed on Sunni extremist militants.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.