Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dozens of Shia pilgrims killed

"Suicide bombers launched a series of deadly assaults on Thursday against pilgrims marching toward a shrine sacred to Shiite Muslims, the police said, and dozens were killed in a third straight day of attacks against an array of targets.

The pilgrimage, which was banned under Saddam Hussein, is expected to draw as many as 10 million people to the city of Karbala over 10 days. It has been an annual flash point for sectarian violence. Until this week, the holiday had been free of major bloodshed, and Iraqi security forces had claimed progress in their ability to protect the populace from violent extremist groups.

That progress evaporated on Thursday, as three car bombs along the roads leading to Karbala, some 60 miles south of Baghdad, killed at least 52 people and wounded 150, according to an official with the Iraqi police."

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