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Suicide bomber slaughters 40 pilgrims in Iraq

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February 24, 2008

A suicide bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of Shiite pilgrims south of Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 40 people, police and medical officials told AFP.

At least 60 people were also wounded in the blast in the town of Iskandiriyah, said Karim Al-Tamimi, a police lieutenant from the province of Babil.

“At around 3:00 pm, when pilgrims were eating their lunch inside the tent, a bomber blew himself up amid the crowd,” said Tamimi.

Mohammed Al-Zaidi, of Babil province state health office, gave the same toll and said that at least 25 of those wounded were seriously injured.

A US military official confirmed the attack, but put the initial death toll at 25.

“The suicide bomber was wearing an explosives vest who detonated his explosives outside the Hateen Apartments, which is outside of Iskandiriyah,” the official added.

The apartments are located on the route between the towns of Iskandiriyah and Musayyib in the region known as the “triangle of death.”

The attack took place on a two-lane highway, the official said, adding that the casualties did not include any US military personnel.

The pilgrims were heading to Karbala to attend the Arbaeen ceremony which commemorates the 40 days following the killing in 680 of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the Sunni caliph Yazid.

Groups of pilgrims marching to Karbala for the ceremony from across the country are often targeted by Sunni insurgents.

The US military official said about 42,000 pilgrims had travelled through the area on Sunday.

In other violence in Baghdad, three people were killed and 51 wounded in four attacks on Shiite pilgrims on the road towards Karbala, which goes through the restive Sunni neighbourhood of Dora, security and medical sources said.

One pilgrim was killed and 15 wounded when a roadside bomb detonated which was followed by shooting, a source at Al-Yarmuk hospital told AFP.

Two police officers were also wounded in the attack, the source added.

Separately, two pilgrims were killed and 18 wounded when insurgents tossed a grenade at a group of pilgrims after which shooting broke out, an interior ministry official said.

Ten people were wounded in a third incident, and four others in a fourth incident, all shot at a distance in the Dora neighborhood, hospital sources told AFP. Police were unable to say where the shooting was coming from.

10 Responses to Suicide bomber slaughters 40 pilgrims in Iraq

  1. Sandra Price

    February 24, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I would like to ask the Administration exactly how could American forces help or hinder these attacks? Would we not be better off simply pulling out and let Islam sort itself out?

  2. SEAL

    February 24, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    The past few days the insurgents have been lobbing mortor shells into the Green Zone. Yup, the surge is a success and things are certainly improving. And they “might” be able to bring some more of the troops home this spring.

    I never thought I would see our military abused like this. I hope Obama is elected because he has vowed to tell the Iraqi’s to get their act together because he will have all our combat troops withdrawn in 16 months, two brigades at a time. I believe he means it.

  3. Sandra Price

    February 24, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    I agree SEAL! I hope you are well!

  4. SEAL

    February 24, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    My health is slowly improving, Sandy, thank you.

  5. Janet

    February 24, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I agree Sandra and Seal. There’s nothing we can do for them except get out and bring the troops home.

    Sandra – how is your cat?

  6. Sandra Price

    February 25, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Thank you Janet, we have Willie on a diet! His leg is healing but he does not like diet food; neither do I! The bone is not broken but dislocated and is now back where it belongs.

  7. gradioc

    February 24, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I’m struck, not for the first time, at how much this reminds me of reports from Belfast and Londonderry 20 years ago. People on a religious march that takes them through the wrong neighborhood are attacked for having the temerity to walk by. There are also overtones of the Jim Crow resistance to civil right marchers in the US south. My point? These are resentments built up over decades and centuries. We may well be faced with the horrible choice of doing what is best for the US (getting our people the Hell out of there) or doing what is morally required (making sure this does not descend into a Rwanda-like genocidal spree). We should, of course, have never gone in. Now that we are there our best options are awful. One thing we cannot do, it has become obvious, is count on the current Iraqi government to do any thing without US support.

  8. JudyB

    February 24, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Bush says the surge is working??? Ask the families of those killed and wounded by suicide bombers THIS month if it is.
    It’s true that the death toll has gone down since the extra
    troops have been sent there, but there are not enough troups
    in the world to thwart the maurading, mudering radicals, merely slow them down until we pull out. Within a week after we pull our troops out,(and I hope its soon)the Sunni insurgents will kill until they rule.
    We should have never been there, Iraqis do not want us there, most USA voters don’t want us there. Our troops in Iraq are doing nothing more than serving as a temporary hall monitors. Add to all of that the fact that America will be in debt for generations because of it..and for what??? Oil rights & pipelines!!! This war sickens me no end!

  9. JudyB

    February 24, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Seal,it’s good to hear from you and glad to see your on the mend.. Stay the course!

  10. Carl Nemo

    February 25, 2008 at 2:39 am

    Glad to hear you are coming around good buddy…! Believe it or not, I light candles for those in my thoughts and you are one of them. Alot of folks worldwide light candles for others… :)

    Carl Nemo **==