News / Middle East

Iraq Car Bomb Kills at Least 20 Shi'ite Pilgrims

Pilgrims pray at Imam Hussein shrine during the Shi'ite religious ceremony of Arbaeen, holy city of Karbala, Iraq,Jan. 2, 2013.
Pilgrims pray at Imam Hussein shrine during the Shi'ite religious ceremony of Arbaeen, holy city of Karbala, Iraq,Jan. 2, 2013.
VOA News
Iraqi authorities say a car bomb has killed at least 20 Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims on their way home from a religious procession in the country's south.
 
Police said Thursday's attack at a busy bus station in the town of Musayyib hit the pilgrims as they were returning from Iraq's shrine city of Karbala, where they performed mourning rituals for a revered figure in Shi'ite Islam. Dozens were wounded in the bombing.
 
  • A destroyed vehicle is towed from the site of a bomb attack in Baghdad's Karrada district, Iraq, December 31, 2012.
  • A resident is seen behind the broken windshield of vehicle after a bomb attack in Baghdad's Karrada district, Iraq, December 31, 2012.
  • Iraqi Federal police search Shi'ite pilgrims marching to Karbala for Arbaeen in Baghdad, Iraq, December 31, 2012.
  • Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims walk to the holy city of Karbala to mark Arbaeen in Baghdad's Doura district, Iraq, December 31, 2012.
  • Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims walk to the holy city of Karbala to mark Arbaeen in Baghdad's Doura district, Iraq, December 31, 2012.
Bombings Kill 23 in Iraq
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which has renewed fears of an increase in sectarian violence that could further destabilize the country.
 
The blast comes just days after a wave of bombings across the country killed 23 people. Insurgents blew up several houses in the town of Musayyib on Monday, killing seven people. Bombings also killed people in Baghdad, Hillah and Kirkuk.
 
Minority Sunni militants have targeted majority Shi'ite pilgrims frequently. Those militants also appear to be exploiting sectarian tensions in the ruling coalition of Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is under political fire.
 
Sunni protesters have held more than a week of anti-government protests in the western province of Anbar, demanding an end to what they see as Maliki's marginalization of their community and its representatives in his Shi'ite-led coalition.

Shi'ite religious observation
 
Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period for Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and a central figure of Shi'ite Islam who was killed in a seventh century battle. His followers believe he was buried in Karbala.

Story continues below
  • Pilgrims enter the Imam Abbas shrine as they attend the religious ceremony of Arbaeen, in Karbala, Iraq, January 3, 2013.
  • Muslim pilgrims mark end of the Arbaeen, which falls 40 days after the Shi'ite holy day of Ashura, Karbala, January 3, 2013.
  • Pilgrims attend the religious ceremony of Arbaeen, in Karbala, Iraq, January 3, 2013.
  • Shi'ite Muslim worshippers gather in front of the holy shrine of Imam Abbas, seen in the background, to mark the Muslim festival of Arbaeen in Karbala, Iraq, January 2 , 2013.

 
Pilgrims attending the ceremony in the golden temple of the Imam Hussein beat their heads and chests whilst singing.
 
Snipers and bomb squads were among around 30,000 Iraqi police and soldiers deployed around Karbala to watch over millions of pilgrims gathered to observe Arbaeen.
 
Shi'ites have been travelling by foot to observe the annual rite which is a major test for Iraqi security forces after a series of attacks targeted Shi'ite pilgrims across Iraq.
 
Shi'ite religious rites were banned under the rule of Saddam Hussein, who was ousted in 2003 by a U.S.-led invasion that triggered years of sectarian violence.
 
Explosions across Iraq killed at least 23 people and wounded 87 on Monday, police said, amid a growing political crisis that is inflaming sectarian tensions.
 
The pilgrimage site has been a repeated target of militants since the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
 
Last year, a suicide bomber disguised as a policeman killed at least 53 people and wounded scores in an attack on pilgrims at the end of Arbaeen.
 
Hussein, a Sunni, placed strict limits on pilgrimages to Kerbala, but since his overthrow in 2003, these have become a show of strength for Iraq's Shi'ite majority and a prime target of Sunni Islamist insurgents.
 
Meanwhile Iraq's Shi'ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, on Monday warned he will not tolerate Sunni anti-government rallies indefinitely, but made a concession to their demands by promising to free some women prisoners.
 
Thousands of Sunnis have been taking to the streets of Iraq for more than a week in protest against Maliki, whom they accuse of discriminating against their sect and being under the sway of their non-Arab Shi'ite neighbor Iran.
 
The incident has once more threatened to plunge a delicate power-sharing deal into turmoil, just as President Jalal Talabani, a moderating influence, is in Germany for medical care after suffering a stroke.

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

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 03, 2013 9:13 PM
These henious, cowardly, deliberate, targeted and continous attacks against civilians people, on their religeous pilgrames is just horrendous. Shia worshippers should be free and safe to carry out their religious duties and obligations. I find it appalling that this carnage goes on and on unabatted year after year; Shia worshipers, as any worshippers from other religions, deserve the full protection of the Iraqi state. I find it also extremly disturbing and appalling, that there is no condemnation, no outcry by the UN/EU/US.. etc .and all civilized nations against this terrible carnage. We in the West may not see eye to eye with the current leadership of Iran, but in no way should that affect our outrage against these terrible crimes being committed against the peaceful Shia worshippers, no matter how we individually address G_d.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid