Baghdad: A string of attacks against
Shiite pilgrims in the past three days killed 70 people in
Baghdad, security officials said on Thursday, exposing the continued
ability of insurgents to inflict bloodshed.
The death toll was another blow to the leaders of a
country which remains dogged by sectarian strife and has only
a caretaker government more than four months after a general
election in which no clear winner emerged.
Almost half of those killed -- 28 -- died yesterday
night when a suicide bomber wearing an explosives-filled belt
struck pilgrims in Adhamiyah, a Sunni district across the
Tigris river from Kadhimiyah, in the north of the capital.
Kadhimiyah is named after Musa Kadhim, the seventh of
12 revered imams in Shiite Islam, who was poisoned in 799 AD,
and whose death tens of thousands of the faithful have
honoured in recent days.
Many of the worshippers crossed a bridge between the
two neighbouring districts to reach the shrine. The suicide
bomber also wounded 136 people while 11 others were killed
Wednesday across the capital in a series of bomb attacks.
The new death toll issued today came as tens of
thousands of Shiite faithful started to disperse from the
shrine and make their way home amid chaotic scenes as many of
them looked for a lift from passing cars and buses.
Five bombings in the capital killed 11 people and
brought the number of wounded to more than 400 people since
Tuesday, the officials said.
A roadside bomb in the central Bab al-Muazam
neighbourhood killed four and injured 46, while a second bomb
in the southeastern Mashtal district killed three and wounded
31, a security official said.
The Shiite majority in Iraq have been a main target of
Sunni Arab armed groups since the US-led invasion of 2003
toppled now executed dictator Saddam Hussein`s Sunni-dominated
Pilgrimages to the Shiite holy places have been
repeatedly hit and heavy security was laid on for the
Traffic was banned on Tuesday on several bridges
spanning the Tigris River, increasing already bad congestion
in the capital, where control on vehicles is already
complicated by hundreds of security checkpoints.