At least 24 people have been killed in two bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital, just days before Shia Muslims commemorate the most revered religious day of their calendar.
In the deadliest of Saturday’s attacks, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged truck at a checkpoint leading to southern Baghdad, killing 20 people and wounding at least 53.
In the second bombing, an explosives-rigged vehicle detonated on Baghdad’s Palestine Street near a tent serving refreshments to Shia pilgrims killing four people.
The attacks come just days before hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims will travel to Karbala, south of the capital, for the Ashoura commemorations, which peak on Tuesday.
Pilgrims taking part in Ashura commemorations, which marks the death of Imam Hussein, one of the most revered figures in Shia Islam, have been targeted in attacks that have killed dozens in past years. The day is also marked by Sunnis.
Baghdad has witnessed a surge in bombings in the past month targeting the Shia community, and with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who consider Shia Muslims heretics, in control of large areas of Iraq, the danger is even greater this year.
According to the UN, at least 1,273 Iraqis were killed across Iraq in October, including 856 civilians and 417 members of Iraq’s security forces. More than 2,000 people were injured in attacks.