66 mainly Shi’a Muslim pilgrims have been killed in another day of violence in Iraq. The country is continuing to experience its worst sustained wave of sectarian attacks in more than five years.
Monday’s deadliest attack came in the southern Baghdad suburb of al-Rasheed, where at least 22 people were killed and dozens of others wounded when two car bombs struck a group of pilgrims, attempting to walk to the holy city of Karbala.
In Tal Afar, near the northern city of Mosul, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shi’a pilgrims to Karbala, killing at least 11 and wounding several others.
They were among hundreds of thousands of pilgrims making their way to Karbala to commemorate Arbaeen, which concludes 40 days of mourning following the anniversary of the death of Imam Husayn, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, who is revered by all Muslims.
Among the other attacks on Monday; at least three police officers were killed after a car bomb was set off in the down of Beiji, around 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Baghdad. One news agency reported that as many as eight police officers had been killed.
In all, at least 66 people were killed across the country on Monday.
Sustained upsurge in violence
This has been the worst year in terms of violence that Iraq has seen since 2007, when sectarian violence pushed the country to the brink of civil war. United Nations figures put the death toll from November alone at 659. More than 6,000 have been killed since the start of 2013.
The latest upsurge in violence began after security forces launched a deadly crackdown on a Sunni protest camp north of the capital back in April. Members of Iraq’s Sunni minority say they face discrimination at the hands of the country’s Shiite-led government.
pfd/jr (AP, AFP, dpa, The Muslim News)