Iraq: terror still targets Shi’ite pilgrims, holy places

Four coordinated explosions killed 15 and injured at least 100 Sept. 25 in Iraq’s Shi’ite holy city of Karbala. The first blast targeted a government building that issues ID cards. Three more explosions followed as police and emergency workers gathered, shearing off the facades of several buildings. The dead included five police and 10 civilians. Four children are among the wounded. This was the latest in a series of recent attacks in the city. On Sept. 22, a suicide bomber killed four pilgrims and wounded 17 as they made their way into Karbala. A Sept. 12 attack on a bus full of pilgrims in Anbar province close to the border of Karbala province and left 22 dead. On Aug.15, car bomb exploded near the police headquarters of Hindiya district, 15 miles east of Karbala, killing three and injuring 42. On July 15, three coordinated bomb blasts in the city targeted pilgrims, claiming more than 100 casualties.

After the Sept. 12 bus attack, security forces from Karbala crossed into Anbar, a mostly Sunni province, and arrested suspects—an action that threatened to provoke a sectarian uprising in Anbar until Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki stepped and ordered their release. (Miami Herald, WP, Sept. 25_

On Sept. 20, suicide bombers killed a leader of the Sahwa (Awakening), a Sunni militia that was backed by US forces, as well as three other people in an attack on a local government compound in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. (McClatchy Newspapers, Sept. 24)

A car bomb also killed Shi’ite pilgrims headed for the holy city of Samarra in February.

See our last posts on Iraq, the ongoing sectarian war, and the struggle within Islam.

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