Iran condemns deadly Iraq attack on its pilgrims
Tehran: Iran on Saturday condemned a deadly attack the day before in neighbouring Iraq, in which at least 14 Iranian Shiite pilgrims were killed, the official IRNA news agency said.
"Iran condemns this indiscriminate terrorist act, which is contrary to Islamic and human values," it cited foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi as saying.
Iranian television reports said 14 pilgrims from Iran were killed and 45 wounded on Friday when a parked vehicle rigged with explosives detonated in the restive town of Muqdadiyah north of Baghdad.
The blast occurred as the pilgrims` bus passed through the town en route from the Iranian border to the Shiite holy city of Najaf.
Iraqi reports on Friday put the number of Iranian pilgrims killed at 10.
"The Iraqi government was responsible for the lives of the Iranian pilgrims," Araqchi said.
Najaf, which lies south of Baghdad, is home to a shrine to a revered figure in Shiite Islam.
Shiite Muslims visiting holy shrines and religious sites form the backbone of Iraq`s tourism industry, with the vast majority of pilgrims coming from Iran.
When touring key Shiite religious sites in Iraq, pilgrims typically visit Najaf, nearby Karbala, Baghdad, and Samarra.
Sunni militants, including those linked to al Qaeda, view Shiites as apostates and often target them. However, no group has yet claimed responsibility for Friday`s bombing.
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