Insurgents launched a wave of attacks across Iraq yesterday, primarily targeting Shiite communities and pilgrims and killing at least 36 people, officials said.
The deadliest blasts yesterday were in the town of Musayyib, south of the capital, where militants planted bombs around two houses, one belonging to a police officer.
Two women, two children and three men were killed in the pre-dawn explosions, a police officer said.
In Baghdad’s Shiite neighborhood of Karrada, a bomb in a parked car went off next to a tent for Shiite pilgrims making their way to the southern city of Karbala to mark the seventh-century death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein, a police officer said.
Five were killed and 25 wounded, he said. A roadside bomb later wounded six pilgrims in Baghdad’s Baiyaa neighborhood, police said.
That came hours after a bomb in a parked car exploded on a busy street in the city of Hillah, killing seven people and wounding 21, a police officer said.
He said some Shiite pilgrims were among the casualties. Two other Shiite pilgrims were killed and 16 wounded in the town of Khalis, north of Baghdad, when two bombs exploded simultaneously, another police officer said.
In the town of Latifiyah, south of Baghdad, one pilgrim was killed and 11 were wounded when two mortar rounds exploded nearby, another police officer said.
Also yesterday, five explosives experts were killed in the northern city of Kirkuk while trying to defuse a bomb in the center of the city, according to police Col. Taha Salaheddin.
Also, seven people were killed in 13 separate attacks in the city. The city is the focus of a power struggle among several sects and the Baghdad government.
A policeman was killed when a bomb hit a police convoy in the town of Tuz Khormato, north of Baghdad, said the provincial spokesman of Salahuddin province, Mohammed al-Asi.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims converge on Karbala, where the Imam Hussein, an important figure in Shiite Islam, is buried.
Many travel on foot, and the mass gatherings are frequently attacked despite tight security.