Iraq suicide bomber kills 30 Shiite pilgrims

A suicide bomber targeting Shi`ite pilgrims killed at least 30 people and wounded 20 in Samarra.

Updated: Feb 12, 2011, 21:20 PM IST

Samarra: A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vest just outside the Sunni-majority city of Samarra north of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 30 Shiite pilgrims travelling in a bus, police and hospital sources said.

"About 27 people were killed and about 20 were wounded by a suicide bomber who targeted a bus filled with Shiite pilgrims on a highway just outside Samarra," a hospital official said.

A police source also confirmed the toll.

Samarra houses the gold-domed shrine of revered ninth century imam Hassan al-Askari which draws pilgrims from Iraq and round the world.

Saturday marked the annual commemoration of his death.

A car bomb ripped through a procession of pilgrims headed to the shrine on Thursday on the outskirts of the town of Dujail further south killing at least nine pilgrims and wounding 39, a provincia spokesman said.

Tens of thousands of people died in violence sparked by the destruction of the Askari shrine`s gold dome five years ago by suspected Sunni extremists loyal to al Qaeda.

The mosque itself was built in 944, and the golden dome was added in 1905.

Bureau Report