News / Middle East

28 Killed in Attack on Shi'ite Political Rally in Iraq

An explosion is seen during a car bomb attack at a Shi'ite political organization's rally in Baghdad, Iraq, April 25, 2014.
An explosion is seen during a car bomb attack at a Shi'ite political organization's rally in Baghdad, Iraq, April 25, 2014.
VOA News
Iraqi officials say at least 28 people have ben killed and dozens wounded in a series of bombings at a campaign rally for a Shi'ite political organization, just days before the country's parliamentary elections.

Friday's blasts struck as some 10,000 supporters of the group Asaib Ahl al-Haq gathered for a rally at a sports stadium in eastern Baghdad.

An al-Qaida breakaway group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, claimed responsibility for the attack.  In a statement posted on its website, the group said it carried out the bombings to avenge the killing of Sunnis by Shi'ite militias.

The authenticity of the claim could not be immediately verified.

At least three explosions, including a car bomb and a suicide attack, occurred at Friday's rally. The event was organized to introduce Asaib Ahl al-Haq candidates for the parliamentary elections on April 30.

Violence and sectarian strife have surged across Iraq as militants seek to undermine the Shi'ite-led government ahead of the parliamentary vote. It will be Iraq's first national election since U.S. military forces withdrew from the country in 2011.

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