[QODLink]
Middle East
Pilgrims killed in Iraq bombings
Iranian pilgrims targeted in twin attacks near Karbala and in Najaf, both Shia holy cities.
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2010 21:52 GMT
The Shrine of Imam Hussein in the holy Shia city of Karbala is one of the sites frequented by pilgrims [Gallo/Getty] 

Twin bombings targeting Iranian pilgrims have killed at least 13 people in Iraq's holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf.

In the first attack a bus carrying pilgrims was hit by a bomb explosion in Touirij town near Karbala in central Iraq, killing at least 10 people and injuring another 38 on Monday.

In the second incident, a car bomb exploded near buses transporting Iranian pilgrims in the city of Najaf, killing at least three people and wounding 10 others.

The revered Imam Ali shrine in Najaf attracts hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims from Iraq, Iran and other countries every year.

According to officials, the first explosion occurred at a parking lot in the northern part of the Karbala.

"It was a suicide bomber who drove up against a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims and detonated the explosives," a police official told AFP news agency.

The explosion wounded another 38 people, most of them Iranians, hospital officials said.

Mohammed al-Moussawi, head of the Kerbala provincial council, said that the Iranian pilgrims were the targets of the attack.

Some 1,500 pilgrims from neighbouring Iran visit Shia shrines in Iraq a day, mainly in the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Separate attack

Also on Monday, a car bomb exploded in the southern city of Basra killing at least 12 people and wounding 39 others.

The blast happened near a busy street filled with restaurants and shops in the city's Qibla district.

Political tensions in Iraq have been stoked by the failure of its leaders to agree on a new government eight months after an inconclusive election.

Nouri al-Maliki, the incumbent prime minister, a Shia, is close to securing a second term but is still trying to win over leaders of a Sunni-backed cross-sectarian alliance.

The attacks come ahead of the Islamic month of Muharram, in which Shia Muslims mourn the historic battle of Karbala.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.