Baghdad car bomb kills 18 during Shia pilgrimage

ISIL claims attack in Iraq's capital on pilgrims commemorating anniversary of Imam Musa al-Kadhim's death.

    The pilgrimage has in recent years turned into a huge event that brings Baghdad to a standstill for days [Husseini/Reuters]
    The pilgrimage has in recent years turned into a huge event that brings Baghdad to a standstill for days [Husseini/Reuters]

    A car bombing targeting Shia pilgrims commemorating the death anniversary of a revered imam in Baghdad has killed at least 18 people, according to Iraqi officials.

    A parked explosives-laden car blew up shortly after midday on Monday in the southwestern Sayadiyah neighbourhood.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Tens of thousands of Shia Muslims have been making their way this week to the northern Baghdad neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah, where the 8th-century Imam Musa al-Kadhim is buried.

    Kadhim, the seventh of 12 imams revered in Shia Islam, died in AD799.

    The pilgrimage has in recent years turned into a huge event that brings Baghdad to a standstill for days.

    Security forces had previously said they would be blocking major roads in Baghdad on Monday and Tuesday to prevent potential attacks on pilgrims.

    Series of attacks

    On Saturday, a car bomb killed at least 23 people and injured 38 others near the Iraqi capital.

    The bombing, also claimed by ISIL, targeted an open-air market frequented by Shia in Nahrawan. 

    According to the UN, at least 741 Iraqis were killed in April owing to ongoing violence, a sharp decline from the previous month.

    In its monthly report issued on Sunday, the UN mission to Iraq put the number of civilians killed at 410, while the rest were members of the security forces. A total of 1,374 Iraqis were wounded that month, it added. 

    In March, at least 1,119 people were killed and 1,561 wounded.

    The capital, Baghdad, remains the worst-hit area, with 232 civilians killed and 642 wounded in April.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.